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Jonathan Cordingley 7th Jan 2010 - 16:36

Saturday's live La Liga previews

Valladolid vs Atletico Madrid-17:15 (note 17:00 kick off) Sky Sports 1

Well blow me over with a feather, Atletico (8/5) went and won a game! Not the response my wallet wanted, but my keyboard gets to say something positive about them as they played well, especially on the counter attack.

What we must now decide is whether this win proves to be a catalyst for revival, or a false dawn. Winning breed's confidence and the Atletico players will have gained enough to make Valladolid (6/4) seem like ideal opponents if they are to kick start a surge up the table.

I must however point out that even in great form Atletico have historically struggled in away games. Even still, I'm going to take a chance that they can take all three points and make instead of cost me money.

Valladolid lost one nil to Getafe last weekend and had a goal wrongly chalked off, but despite beating Sporting Gijon two weeks earlier had seemingly lost form and started to draw a lot of games.

Atletico draw no bet (evens) or double chance 2 or X (8/15) are safer bets than the straight Atletico win (8/5), so make a choice dependant on how cautious you are.

Sevilla vs Racing Santander- 19:00 Sky Sports 2

A comedy own goal, man sent off and conceding an injury time winner are hard to predict, but Sevilla (4/9) got what they deserved in their defeat to Atletico Madrid last week. They looked devoid of confidence and could not retain possession. They also appeared reliant on the long ball which ties in with the lack of confidence creatively, particularly in midfield.

Tuesday's Copa del Rey victory over Barcelona was unexpected, but the decision to play three wingers and counter attack proved effective. Sure, Barca could not convert several first half chances, but Sevilla coach Manolo Jimenez must be given credit for his tactical game plan.

Wingers are hard to defend against and Sevilla have three very good ones in Navas, Capel and Perotti. Diego Capel has struggled this season and lost his La Liga starting place to the impressive young Argentine Perotti. He did however stake a claim to get his place back with an impressive performance in the Nou Camp midweek, scoring once and also having a goal disallowed. Capel is 7/1 to score first or 2/1 to score at anytime.

It will be interesting to see what tactics and personnel Sevilla use in this game and while they should win on paper, it is by no means a foregone conclusion.

Racing (28/5) are not expected to lie down and are considered competent on the counter attack. Their new coach Miguel Angel Portugal has not done badly since being appointed, with three wins, zero draws and three defeats. The defeats came against Real Madrid, Deportivo and Villarreal and there is no shame in losing to any of that trio.

As Sevilla have documented injury problems in attack, they are not scoring many goals, so Racing with a two goal start (2/5) would cover a one goal Sevilla win. If you're looking for better value, it's obviously riskier, but Racing with a one goal start is decent value at 13/10.

Villarreal vs Almeria-21:00 Sky Sports 2

The Yellow Submarines did very well in Barcelona last weekend and if not for spurned chances and dubious refereeing, would have walked away with all three points. They should have had at least one, possibly two penalties and did not lack confidence when a goal down.

They host Almeria (28/5) this weekend, a team who recently sacked Mexican legend Hugo Sanchez. The master of the overhead kick was replaced with Juanma Lillo and the new boss got off to a good start by beating Xerez one nil last Sunday.

It was only Xerez after all, so we will have to monitor Almeria's form long term before making judgement. In the short term I think that Villarreal (4/9) are too strong and I'll be betting on the Submarines to take all three points.

David Fuster was guilty of missing chances in the Nou Camp, but he took his goal well and is the owner of an impressive record of three goals in three La Liga starts this season. He is 11/2 to get the first goal and 6/4 to score at anytime.

Giuseppe Rossi has scored more goals in the Europa league (my god the new name sounds stupid!) than La Liga this season and as he scored against Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey midweek, could be getting into the goal scoring form required to balance the stats in Spain. The former Parma youth product is 4/1 for the first goal and evens to score at anytime.

Recommendation: Villarreal (4/9)

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


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