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Jonathan Cordingley 2nd Feb 2011 - 16:22

Midweek Copa del Rey previews

Almeria v Barcelona, 19:00

In only two games, Barcelona have amassed a staggering tally of thirteen goals against Almeria. Eight came in the league win at Almeria a couple of months ago, five in the first leg Copa del Rey Semi final in the Nou Camp last week.

In the cup game, Almeria (6/1) proved that they were not prepared to lie down as they did in the league meeting between the two but, despite having a few decent chances, were still blown away.

With the tie effectively over and Champions league in the horizon, Barcelona should field a weak team tonight. Of course, I can't guarantee that but it's enough to put me off backing Barca at 2/5.

In the cup quarter final, Segunda leaders Real Betis lost 5-0 to Barca in the first leg but won the second 3-1. Amazingly, Messi played in the latter and even missed a penalty.

I knew Betis could beat Barca in Seville but I preferred to bet in-play. I'm not, however, as convinced that Almeria can beat Barca in the same situation, but will form a firmer opinion in-play.

A draw (19/5) seems a better pre-match punt for my money, but I'm only taking one bet in this game and that's an e/w punt on Almeria's Ulloa (9/1 to score first, 10/3 anytime), a player who has impressed with 7 league goals in only 6 starts.

Worth a punt: Ulloa e/w first scorer (9/1)

Real Madrid v Sevilla, 21:00-Sky Sports 4

Down 1-0 from the first leg and feeling cheated by the goal that never was, Sevilla (7/1) will go into this game with a lot anger and determination. Can they overcome a one goal deficit and take the tie to extra time or will they do enough to progress without the need for another 30 minutes?

Either is possible but, like the Almeria-Barca game, I see a draw (19/5) as the most realistic outcome for fans of the Rojiblancos. Why? Well, despite Real Madrid (4/11) shockingly losing 1-0 to away to Osasuna in the league at the weekend, I don't see them losing two in a row.

Besides, Mourinho has to win something this season and I don't see it being the league or Champions league. Any forecaster has to stand by his picks and mine were Barca for the league and Champions league, with Real Madrid winning the cup.

The above are hardly bold picks you might think, but research the last time Real Madrid won the cup and you'll see that my pick is bolder than it seems on paper.

Had Mourinho not been the Los Blancos coach, I would not have picked Real to win the cup. Sevilla won the cup last year - beating Atletico 2-0 in the final - and they would have been a good pick to repeat again this year had the circumstances surrounding Real been different.

Tonight I think that Sevilla can score first (12/5), though I won't be backing that to happen pre-match, all I'm interested in is the bet at the bottom of this preview.

Before I get to that, though, there will be interest in the scorers market tonight with Ronaldo (9/4 to score first, 1/2 anytime) and new loan signing Adebayor (11/4 to score first, 8/13 anytime) the top picks to score for Real.

For Sevilla, Fabiano, Negredo and Kanoute are the men to choose from. At 10/1 to score first or 10/3 anytime each, all carry bigger than normal prices given their opposition and venue.

In conclusion, though I think that Real (4/11) will win in 90 mins tonight, I'd only back them if they went a goal down or were drawing on 70 minutes. There's just no value otherwise. For better pre-match value and considering that Sevilla are a dirty team, I'm banking on someone being given their marching orders in an anxious, entertaining clash.

Recommendation: Yes to a red card in the match (23/20)

Whatever you choose, don't forget that you can always monitor the game and bet in-play at Williamhill.com



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