Mark Young's La Liga Preview
The ten-point gap in La Liga remains and this weekend could possibly see that gap get even bigger.
Top of the table, Real Madrid travel to an interesting and on form Rayo Vallecano side that beat Levante 5-3 away last weekend in a thrilling encounter while Real were comfortably beating Racing by four goals to nil at home. Real lost at Levante this season in that context Rayo did very well. Real are 4/11 to win away in an afternoon kick off off on Sunday with Rayo priced at 7/1. With Benzema hitting form in the last few weeks Higuain may get his chance in this one and 7/2 for a Real Madrid striker to score first is one of the best prices you are going to get in games like this. Real should bounce back from a mid week draw in Moscow but there should be goals. Over 4.5 goals is 3/1.
Barcelona play in the final game of the weekend away at Atletico Madrid who kept another clean sheet in mid week. They conceded in a 1-1 draw at Sporting last week in only the second game that they have conceded in since Diego Simeone took over and Atletico are a big price with the William Hill Match Winner at 7/1 to keep a clean sheet against the European champions. Yes, they knocked five past Valencia last week but it is away from home and 1/2 is a tad too short to warrant backing Barcelona. The draw looks superb at 16/5 as does a Falcao first goal at 15/2.
One of the best bets of the weekend has to be Espanyol at home to Levante. They are odds on but 8/11 for a team chasing the top four against a Levante side whose form has nosedived since a wonderful start to the season. Valencia to beat Sevilla at 4/5 should be added in an interesting looking double. Sevilla have a new coach but they are not the team they once were and should find Sevilla comfortable opposition. Espanyol to win to nil is big at 19/10 with the William Hill Match Winner.
Out of Form Malaga host bottom of the table Zaragoza this week and seems a bit too short at 4/9 to pick up three points against the team rooted at the bottom of the table. Over2/5 goals at 8/11 should be looked at but although Malaga should win it is extremely difficult to trust them with your money.
Villarreal looked like they were hitting good form before they travelled to Mallorca and were beaten 4-0 by the Islanders last week and it doesn't get any easier this week with the visit of Athletic Bilbao. Bilbao may have Manchester United on their minds but are a big price at 11/5 to win in the Sunday lunchtime kick off. 5/4 for Villarreal is far too short given their overall form this season.
Also this week, Real Betis host Getafe and Sporting go to Racing on Saturday. Osasuna play Granada and Sociedad host Mallorca on Sunday evening.
There should be a few quality goals as usual this weekend but the possibility of the title edging closer to Madrid is an intriguing prospect considering it is still February.