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Jonathan Cordingley 1st Oct 2010 - 21:43

Saturday's La Liga Previews

Real Zaragoza v Sporting Gijon, 17:00

For nearly half an hour, Zaragoza (21/20) played against a ten man Atletico Madrid side but could not muster a shot on target in their eventual 1-0 away defeat - Worrying times indeed for coach Jose Aurelio Gay.

Senor Gay cannot be blamed for the lack of offensive talent at his disposal, but he is ultimately responsible for the team's winless start to the season and looks highly likely to be given his marching orders in the next few weeks should results continue in this manner.

An away defeat to Atletico is not unexpected, but a home defeat of Sporting Gijon (13/5) certainly is. However, with Zaragoza failing to score since Malaga's shock 5-3 win at La Romareda, a draw (23/10) sounds like the most likely option in the 90 minute market.

After all, two of the last three meetings between these sides have resulted in draws and Sporting have not won away from home in ten Primera Liga games.

Last weekend, Sporting surprisingly went two nil down at home to Valencia within the first ten minutes of the match. Gijon will look to rebound from that 2-0 defeat today, but everything points to under 2.5 goals and draw (16/5).

Worth a punt scoreline: 0-0 (priced at 9/1)

Real Sociedad v Espanyol, 19:00-Sky Sports 4

As expected, the home team wins theory was exactly what happened when Sociedad lost 2-0 away to Mallorca last weekend. Back on their own turf, Sociedad (6/5) should show us another example of this theory by beating travel shy Espanyol (23/10) this weekend.

Likely to score first in my eyes is former Espanyol forward Raul Tamudo (11/2 to score first, 6/4 anytime). The discarded Espanyol legend has three goals in his last four games and faces his former employers for the first time since leaving the Barcelona based club.

Tamudo will certainly be motivated to prove the Espanyol board wrong for letting him go, but I would expect muted celebrations should he score tonight as the forward has great respect for the Espanyol fans.

The Espanyol fans witnessed their team win 1-0 at home to Osasuna last weekend, with Vasquez (7/1 to score first, 2/1 anytime) the scorer.

For scorelines today, 1-0 and 2-0 to Sociedad (priced at 11/2 and 10/1 respectively) sound like decent shouts. As do the same scorelines with Tamudo as first scorer in scorecast bets (Tamudo and 1-0 = 30/1, Tamudo and 2-0 = 50/1).

Recommendation: Sociedad (6/5)

Worth a punt: Tamudo to score first (11/2)

Valencia v Athletic Bilbao, 21:00-Sky Sports 4

Valencia can count their selves somewhat unlucky to have lost to Manchester United in the Champions league midweek. I fancied a 0-0 draw and was well on course for it until young Hernandez popped up with an 85th minute winner.

Los Che had looked the more likely winner until that point, but it was a very good instinctive finish from the Mexican; a natural finisher indeed.

Back in the Primera Liga, table topping Valencia (4/6) impressively beat Sporting Gijon 2-0 on their patch. Both goals came in the first ten minutes: The first from Turkish defensive midfielder Topal, the second from Valencia born striker Soldado (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime).

I'd like to recommend Soldado tonight, but I don't know whether he or Aduriz (4/1 to score first, evens anytime) will start. Emery rarely plays with both and though Soldado is expected to cement a starting spot in the future, Aduriz has impressed with his heading ability when given the nod.

Great heading ability certainly applies to Athletic's Fernando Llorente (8/1 to score first, 11/4 anytime), though I won't be backing him today due to him not scoring for two games.

The last of those two games was at home to Barcelona. Athletic (4/1) fought hard in their 3-1 defeat and had to do so with ten men after Amorebieta was sent off for his lunge on Iniesta.

As a consequence of his red card, the big Basque defender will not be playing today. His absence could lead to a game with less fouls, though Bilbao's players do not generally shirk challenges.

The early signs are that Valencia have a good enough squad to seamlessly rotate players without the outcome of the 90 minute market changing. Tonight will be a further test for this notion after the extra burden European action midweek.

I think that Valencia will win, but am only 75% sure and would only bet at even money. A draw (11/4) is not out of the question given my uncertainty; a game to look at in-play with my money.

Enjoy the action and don't forget that you can bet in-play with William Hill Online.



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