La Liga Weekend Preview
Spanish La Liga Preview 18/02 – 20/02
It has been a good week for Spanish clubs coming off of a bumper week of European action. Barcelona, Atletico and Valencia all won and Athletic Bilbao were defeated in Moscow but still managed to grab an away goal. After that kind of action it is up to La Liga to go far and beyond those standards this weekend.
The live coverage starts in Madrid this weekend, at the Bernabeu as Real, who are now eight points clear of Barcelona host Racing Santander. Mourinho’s men are 1/10 to grab three points following their 4-2 win at home to Levante last weekend. They go to Moscow on Tuesday night in the Champions League and some players may be rested but they should still walk away with all three points. Cristiano Ronaldo bagged another astonishing hat trick last weekend and is as short as 9/2 to do so again and 1/5 to score any time. Real to walk away with a 5-1 victory is priced at 16/1. They do score a lot but there are always doubts at the back, so Racing could nick a goal but it is highly unlikely that they will trouble the champions elect.
The big game on Sunday night really is a titanic clash between second and third in the table. Valencia, fresh from a victory at the Britannia, travel to the Nou Camp to face Barcelona. The Catalan’s are 1/ 4to beat Unai Emery’s side and that seems a little too short. Barcelona laboured to a draw at the Mestalla in the return fixture and Valencia will fancy their chances of not only grabbing a point or three from the Nou Camp but also catching them for second place in the table with the points that Barca are dropping. Draw/draw on the double result is 15/2. The William Hill match winner is Lionel Messi to score twice or more and Barcelona to win at 2/1, enhanced from 17/10.
The other match where William Hill are producing a Match Winner is for Athletic Bilbao at home to Malaga. They have travelled a lot this week but should still be good enough for three points at 10/11. Fernando Llorente to score a header and Bilbao to win is priced at 5/1 for the match winner and that has to be seriously looked at.
After a stunning 3-1 victory in Rome against Lazio in midweek, Diego Simeone should be a confident man with their away trip to Sporting Gijon. They are 10/11 to nick three points. The goal that Miroslav Klose scored on Thursday evening was the first goal that Atletico have conceded under Simeone, that is some record. Under 2.5 goals is 7/10 and with a couple of 0-0 draws under their belt recently and with this match sandwiched between a Europa League tie this could have appeal.
Elsewhere this week, Espanyol travel to Getafe and the draw at 11/5 looks enticing, as does the 11/4 where Sevilla take on Barcelona’s conquerors, Osasuna. Sevilla should not be backed at prices like 8/13; they do not show enough quality week in, week out to warrant it. Villarreal could also grab a draw this weekend at Mallorca after a recent up turn in form and that is 11/5.
Levante host Rayo, Granada play Sociedad and Betis go to Zaragoza in an exciting looking Spanish La Liga weekend.
By Mark Young (Twitter - @markyoung1988)