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Jonathan Cordingley 30th Oct 2009 - 13:02

La Liga live! Saturday's Spanish football previews

Sky Sports are showing three live games from the Spanish Liga Primera on Saturday night and you can bet In-Play on a massive range of markets throughout the games.

Real Madrid vs Getafe - 17:15 Sky Sports 3

Despite their disallowed goal last week, a draw was a fair result for Real Madrid (4/11) and it could easily have been worse if my predicted goalscorer Miguel De Las Cuevas had converted his best chance. This week they host Getafe (11/2) in a Madrid derby and the latter have been playing well recently with former Los Blancos starlet Daniel Parejo (14/1 first goal, 11/2 anytime scorer) contributing to their 8th place in the standings.

Rated by Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano as the best prospect he had seen, Parejo surprisingly did just ok while on loan at Queens Park Rangers. The QPR coaching staff suggested this was because he was just far too clever for his teammates and on a completely different wavelength to the lesser talent that paraded around him.

As is the case with most of the youth team products that suffer due to the policy of signing “mega stars” and move on to smaller clubs to gain playing time, Real have an option to buy Daniel back and, on his current form, that may not be as far away as some might think.

Kaká looked a lot better in his new role behind the striker last week and, given that this is the role he plays and excels in for Brazil, must be worth punters attention to score in this game. He is priced at  5/1 for the first goal and 10/11 anytime scorer.

After Real Madrid’s 4-0 midweek humbling at the hands of Segunda B side Alcorcón, this is a must win game for Real coach Pellegrini.

Worth a punt: Parejo - anytime scorer (11/2)

Osasuna vs Barcelona - 19:00   Sky Sports 3

While Birmingham City fans may not remember Walter Pandiani (8/1 first/last scorer) as one of their finest imports, the Uruguayan has always given good value in La Liga and is enjoying something of an Indian summer at Osasuna (11/2).

Six goals in eight top level games is a tremendous return for any striker, especially one playing for a team whose main aim is to avoid relegation.  There has even been talk of a return to the International fold should Uruguay qualify for next year’s World Cup and I for one hope it happens.

Barcelona (4/11) thrashed Zaragoza last week and Messi looked to be returning to form with some nice passes and a tremendous finish for his goal. The future World Player Of the Year can be backed at 4/1  for the first goal or evens to score anytime.

His teammate Zaltan Ibrahimovic can be backed at 10/3 and 4/5 respectively in the same markets and after his stunning free kick last week, must be worth consideration.

I think this is a potential banana skin for Barcelona and with next week’s Champions League tie away to Rubin Kazan in their sights, a draw at 16/5 could be worth a small stake.

Recommendation: Walter Pandiani to score at anytime (11/4)
Worth a punt: Draw (16/5)

Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid- 21:00 Sky Sports 3

This match brings the La Liga debut of Quique Sánchez Flores as Atlético Madrid (8/5) manager and the conservative 44 year old will no doubt be looking to make an immediate impression on the crisis ridden club.

Known as a defensive minded coach who builds from the back, Quique has been given a contract until the end of the season and will be expected to turn one of the worst defences in Spanish football into one that can challenge for Champions League football. Only 8 points currently separate them from 4th spot, but he has some job on his hands and a squad very low on confidence.

Kun Aguero (13/2 first goal or 15/8 anytime scorer) has wanted to leave for 2 seasons and it’s clear to see that last season’s European Golden Shoe winner Diego Forlán (5/1 first goal or 5/4 anytime scorer) is suffering from a lack of confidence, particularly evident in his penalty miss against Mallorca last week (although he did score a second penalty in the same game).

Their opponents Athletic Bilbao (7/5) are historically the third most successful club in Spain and despite starting the La Liga season with 3 wins from 3 games, have gained only 1 point from their following 5 outings.

Many blame Athletic’s slump on their participation in this year’s re-branded Europa League and there is no doubt that competing on multiple fronts has taken its toll on the small squad of the northern giants. In that tourney however, they have won 2 out of 3 of their group games with their only defeat coming against Werder Bremen who were UEFA Cup finalists last season.

A big positive for Athletic has been the emergence of 16 year old prodigy Iker Muniain, who scored on his Europa League debut and has continued to impress with 3 goals in only 4 starts in all competitions. Of course, given his age he will not start every game and while it’s inevitable that he will move on eventually, he gives the Basque only club and its fans a star of their own.

A hero to the Bilbao fans with greater maturity and proven pedigree is Fernando Llorente, who England fans will remember from the friendly Spain won 2-0 with that man adding the second with a powerful header. Llorente can be backed at 11/2 for the first goal or 6/4 anytime scorer.

This is a hard game to predict and “bad form vs bad form” would be a fair billing!

Worth a punt: Atletico (8/5)


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