Sunday's La Liga previews
Sporting Gijon v Xerez, 16:00
Nine games left to play, seven points separate 20th placed Xerez and 17th placed Zaragoza. Can the visitors achieve what seemed impossible only a few weeks ago, and evade relegation?
Statisticians say that Xerez (7/2) have a 5% chance of pulling off what would surely be one of the greatest escapes of all time. Realistically, finishing anything other than bottom would be a great achievement of a club that looked set to beat every lowest tally the Primera division has ever seen.
Whatever happens, striker Bermejo (7/1) to score first, 15/8 anytime) has been in great form and is worth serious consideration today.
Sporting (7/10) may consider there selves theoretically safe from relegation and consequently put less of an effort in today, but they have a great home record to protect with only two defeats at El Molinol.
A win therefore appears to be a bridge too far for the sherry makers, so I will instead go for a draw (5/2). I sincerely hope I'm wrong and Xerez win!
Valladolid v Villarreal, 16:00
Onesimo's charges were pathetic in their 3-0 away defeat at Xerez last weekend, even managing to get their goalkeeper sent off!
Nineteenth placed Valladolid (15/8) must win today, and luckily for them, play a Villarreal (13/10) side that has only won once on the road this season.
However, The Yellow Submarines thrashed Sevilla 3-0 at El Madrigal last weekend, and are therefore in good form.
Former Man Utd striker Giuseppe Rossi (9/2 to score first, 5/4 anytime) opened the scoring, before Llorente (9/2 to score first, 5/4 anytime) and substitute Pires (15/2 to score first, 4/1 anytime) completed the rout.
Although it appeared unlikely prior to last week's fixtures, Villarreal's defeat of Sevilla, along with other results going their way, means that the subs are now in with a good chance of qualifying for Europe.
In conclusion, I don't trust either team to win so I'm going for a draw (11/5).
Almeria v Mallorca, 16:00
Almeria surprisingly lost 1-0 away to Osasuna last time out, with Juanma Ortiz's sending off compounding a miserable afternoon for the Andalusians.
In fact, Almeria (7/5) were very lucky not to have lost by a far greater margin. If they are to bounce back this afternoon, it's worth considering that when they win at home, it's usually be a scoreline of 1-0 (13/2 today).
Their opponents today, fourth placed Mallorca (7/4) also lost 1-0 last week, but to a far better team in Barcelona. The islanders put up a tremendous fight, coming close to scoring on a number of occasions, including striking the woodwork.
Given their opponents, impressive stuff. But it was a home game, and sadly Mallorca have been anything but impressive on the road this season, with only two wins and five draws to their name.
One of those draws was in Santander a week a half ago, but given how poor Racing have been at home, it's difficult to know what to read into that.
Nonetheless, a draw seems to be the likely option today and is priced at 11/5.
Getafe v Espanyol, 16:00
Slick Getafe rolled over hapless Deportivo in A Coruna last weekend, with former Valencia striker Miku (9/2 to score first, 5/4 anytime) scoring a brace.
The Venezuelan's double was aided by the excellent form of winger Pedro Leon (15/2 to score first, 2/1 anytime) who, on the back of some impressive performances this season, must surely be destined for better things.
Getafe (3/4) were aided by a pathetic showing from Deportivo, but nevertheless played very well and deserved their 3-1 victory.
Visiting the Alfonso Perez are Espanyol (10/3), who disappointingly drew 0-0 at home to Sporting last Sunday.
Gijon undoubtedly came for a point, but once again Espanyol were guilty of poor finishing, showing exactly why they are the lowest scorers in the division with a tally of 21 so far.
Six of those were scored away from home, and consequently Espanyol have a miserable road record comprising of one win, four draws and nine defeats.
Despite needing a win to further distance there selves from the relegation places, I don't see Espanyol getting anything from their trip to the outskirts of Madrid.
I will be betting on Getafe winning (3/4) today, and possibly also with a -1 goal handicap (9/4).
Valencia v Osasuna, 16:00
I've already covered Valencia's surprising 3-0 defeat away to Zaragoza in Saturday's previews, so there is no need for me to re-tread the same ground!
In their Europa League 1st leg quarter final with fellow Spaniards Atletico Madrid on Thursday evening, Los Che were unable to make their chances count in the first half with Pablo Hernandez the most guilty culprit.
In the second half, Valencia (1/2) conceded a sucker punch goal on the counter attack after failing to leave an adequate number of defenders back when attacking a corner at the other end.
Jordi Alba felt compelled to lunge at the advancing Kun Aguero before the Argentine squared for Forlan to tap in. It's harsh to blame the the young, inexperienced left winger as, like a number of players, he is being forced to play out of position (left back) and such collective disorganisation only makes it harder for the youngster.
Valencia then equalised through a well struck Manuel Fernandes (16/1 to score first, 9/2 anytime) shot from twenty yards before poor marking allowed Atletico to go 2-1 up. Villa (11/4 to score first, 4/5 anytime) equalised, but it's definitely advantage Atletico.
Osasuna (5/1) managed their first win in seven games when they beat Almeria 1-0 through a Walter Pandiani (15/2 to score first, 2/1 anytime) goal.
It was an impressive display from the Pamplonans who created a lot of chances, and should have won by a far greater margin.
History says that Osasuna usually lose at the Mestalla, but given Valencia's tired, makeshift backline, along with the fact that the visitors are battling relegation, I must conclude that there is a very good chance an upset today.
The double chance bet of Osasuna or draw (2 or X) could prove to be just the ticket at 13/10, but I will be betting in-play.
If you fancy Osasuna to win, i can't see Valencia failing to score so you may also want to consider both teams to score (evens).
Racing Santander v Real Madrid, 18:00-Sky Sports 1 (first half on the red button)
With the Classico around the corner, Los Blancos must not take their eye off the ball when they face the potential banana skin that Is Racing Santander.
The last time Real Madrid (3/10) lost this game was by a scoreline of 2-1 (18/1 in today's game) in April 2007.
The bad news for Racing (15/2) is that they have only won one of their last ten league games, and have failed to score in seven of these. They did, however, score three goals in their last game; a 4-3 Monday night loss away to Bilbao.
The Verdiblancos put up a fight in Basque country, and credit must be given to substitute Bolado (9/1 to score first, 10/3 anytime) who scored two terrific goals, including an overhead kick.
Tchite (9/1 to score first, 10/3 anytime) also scored, but the real attention today will be on Sergio Canales (11/1 to score first, 4/1 anytime). The future Real player will no doubt be looking to put on a show for those that will soon his pay his wages, and he is therefore worth your consideration.
Also worth considering is Racing's home record which consists of two wins, five draws and seven defeats. Alarmingly, they have only scored ten times on their own turf, but have managed double that amount on their travels!
Real started poorly against Atletico and, as is often the case, lacked cohesion. Trailing their city rivals at half time, Real equalised through Xavi Alonso (missing today through suspension) before Arbeloa (33/1 to score first, 12/1 anytime) twisted and turned to calmly fire Real into the lead. The red hot Higuain (11/4 to score first, 8/13 anytime) added their third.
Ronaldo (5/2 to score first, 4/7 anytime) did not score, but when that happens he seems to get a brace in the next game (2 or more is 4/7) with one of them being a free kick.
I expect Real to win but don't feel that the price of 3/10 represents the risk. Betting in-play will be my vice, but based on the fact that Real have conceded first in recent games against Atletico and Sporting, I will be having a small pre-match bet on Racing to score the first goal (12/5)
Atletico Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna, 20:00-Sky Sports 1
Los Colchoneros played their part in an engaging Madrid derby last Sunday, even going a goal up to silence the stunned Bernabeu crowd.
Former Real Madrid winger Reyes deftly placed Kun Aguero's layoff past Casillas, before Real staged a second half comeback to eventually win 3-2.
As usual, Diego Forlan (7/2 to score first, 10/11 anytime) was amongst the scorers, and also netted one in Atletico's 2-2 Europa League draw away to Valencia on Thursday evening.
Deportivo (10/3) meekly surrendered at home to Getafe last weekend, with the only bright spark being Riki's (15/2 to score first, 9/4 anytime) goal.
Although Atletico (3/4) may field a mixture of youngsters and tired veterans today, I would still fancy them to beat disinterested Deportivo.
Should he start, I will definitely bet on a Forlan wincast (5/1 first scorer and Atletico win, or 6/4 anytime scorer and Atletico win).
Enjoy the action and don't forget that you can bet In-Play with William Hill Online.