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Mark Young 16th Sep 2011 - 15:00

La Liga Week Three Preview

After two weeks of Spain’s premier competition, their champions are already chasing down their arch rivals. In a season that will prove to be a lot of back and forth head to head’s between Barcelona and Real Madrid, week three will prove to be no different.

Barcelona have been disappointing in their last two outings in terms of result. Two 2-2 draws in the space of four days have given Guardiola some problems. It seems that playing two midfielders at centre back is finally catching up with them. Drawing 2-2 with AC Milan in the Champions League was disappointing but they did dominate throughout.

Milan scored within 25 seconds through Pato and in the last minute through Thiago Silva but in between it was Barca dominating. They will be scratching their heads how they did not come away with three points just like when they played Sociedad. Two goals up and in control and somehow were lucky to come out with a single point. This Saturday sees the Catalan’s face Osasuna at home and this should be a game where they get their challenge back on track. They are 1/10 to beat Osasuna who are 20/1. The home side should win comfortably again and with his early season form Fabregas at 10/11 to score in 90 minutes appeals.

It is a different story for Real Madrid who have two wins out of two and a solitary Angel Di Maria strike gave them their first three points away from home in the Champions League against Dinamo Zagreb. They travel to Levante this Sunday and will hope to maintain their 100% start to the season. Mourinho knows his team must get as much points as they can before the Classico against Barcelona to heap the pressure on Messi and Co. Karim Benzema is a striker in form and should start for Los Blancos on Sunday.  He is 3/1 to score two or more and exactly the same price to score first, as he did last weekend against Getafe at the Bernabeau.

Malaga will hope to carry on their form from Monday’s thrashing of Granada away at Mallorca. They are 13/10 to pick up the three points. On Monday something seemed to click and Cazorla looked unstoppable. 13/10 could be huge value. As could Villarreal away at Granada who haven’t looked too good so far this season. The Yellow Submarine has started slowly but they would expect to pick up three points on the road at 6//5. Valencia also play on Saturday night and they are upholding another 100% record. They have a tough looking trip to Gijon and with Soldado on the form that he is another away win could be on the cards on Saturday.

Atletico Madrid got their season off and running on Thursday as they beat Celtic 2-0 in the Europa League. Falcao was set up by Diego to open his account for the club and later on the Brazilian even grabbed a goal himself. If those two can strike up that kind of partnership in the league they will be hard to stop. Atletico should be home bankers against Sociedad who will be buoyed after last weekend’s point at home to Barcelona.

Real Betis have another 100% record and they go away to Bilbao in what should be a tightly contested game. They have only scored two goals Betis but have six points. Bilbao will feel hard done by losing to Espanyol last week and it might be time for Betis’ 100% record to come to an end. Fernando Llorente at evens to score anytime against the newly promoted side is good value this weekend.

At the end of the weekend Real Madrid and Barcelona will both expect to be three more points better off but as last weekend showed, anything can happen in La Liga when team’s switch off. Barcelona and Real are scalps and the smaller teams are starting to enjoy upsetting the odds.


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