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Mark Young 14th Apr 2012 - 8:29

La Liga Preview - 14th April

Follow Mark onTwitter: @markyoung1988

What a fortnight it is going to be in Spanish football as five La Liga teams embark on European semi finals and the season really turns the corner to the home straight as we see who the thoroughbreds really are.

Slap, bang in the middle of this is a small matter of El Classico next Saturday. But that's for next week.

This week, both Real Madrid and Barcelona kick off on Saturday night as the Spanish FA are giving their sides the best chance possible of progressing to that showpiece Munich final.

Real have a home clash with Sporting Gijon and their odds of 1/14 show that they should trot home at a canter on the day of the Grand National.

A Cristiano Ronaldo super show defeated Atletico Madrid who were way off their city rival's pace on Wednesday to keep Los Blancos five points clear of Barcelona. Jose Mourinho may rest players with Barcelona and a Bayern Munich double header on the horizon. Jose Callejon has had a fantastic return season in the all white of Real and he could get a chance to start. He is an attractive 4/1 to score first and 10/3 to score two or more goals.

By the time Barcelona kick off they will know the result of their title rivals. The Catalan giants go to Levante, who are only two points off a Champions League place after their victory at home to Atletico Madrid last week. Barcelona have a tough looking trip to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night and may have one eye on that but the victory should still be Barcelona's. The William Hill Match Winner is for Barcelona to score first and to NOT win the match.

That has been enhanced from 8/1 to 10/1 and after his early goal at home to Atletico last weekend Arouna Kone is 11/1 to do the same against the Champions League semi finalists.

The team that currently holds the final Champions League place are Malaga and they host Real Sociedad on Sunday. They are 8/15 to beat them and they should even after their loss at Villarreal on Wednesday night. Santi Cazorla scored first that night and he is 11/2 to do so again. After two late goals against them in midweek the William Hill Match Winner is for Malaga to score between the 76th minute and full time at 13/8 that may well be worth a look at.

Europa League semi final opponents, Valencia and Atletico Madrid both have very tough looking away games this weekend as Los Che travel to Espanyol and Diego Simeone's Atletico go to Rayo Vallecano. Both sides may rest players so for Rayo to win at 21/10 and Espanyol at 2/1 look like big prices as their opponents heads may be elsewhere.

The final Spanish team in European action in midweek are Athletic Bilbao. They host a resurgent Mallorca but they are still not great travellers. Bilbao are 4/6 to pick up the victory but they may rest players again. Second choice striker, Gaizka Toquero looks a big price at 11/2 to net first if he starts.

Elsewhere this week there is a relegation battle between Zaragoza and Granada and between Villarreal and Racing Santander. Real Betis play Champions League chasing Osasuna and Getafe host Sevilla.
The finish line is in sight.

Follow Mark onTwitter: @markyoung1988



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