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Jonathan Cordingley 12th Feb 2010 - 22:36

Saturday's Spanish La Liga previews

Sporting Gijon v Valencia, 17:00

Valencia (4/5) beat Valladolid with minimum fuss last week and key to the result was the talented Argentine Ever Banega.

The former Boca Juniors youngster has exquisite technique and is a far better comparison to Real Madrid legend Fernando Redondo than the man he replaced at Boca, Fernando Gago.

Ever has a couple of caps for Argentina (though who hasn't these days!) and must surely be in with a good chance of being on the plane to South Africa if he continues to play this well for Los Che.

For now Banega and the boys must concentrate on taking all three points from a team that have lost four games in a row, Sporting Gijon.

As I've said in the past, Sporting (3/1) are hard to beat at home, but decimated by injuries and suspensions have slipped to thirteenth place in the table, losing their last two home games in the process.

Interestingly they lost those two games 1-0 (to Barca and Racing) so Valencia to win by that margin carries merit and is available at 9/2. With most of Sporting's defence missing, two nil to Valencia could also be worth a look and is priced at 6/1.

Villa scored last week but is not in top form for me (he does have a good record against former club Sporting however) and part of that is due to the tired creative legs around him. Mata for one is suffering, but new signing Dominguez can supply as last week showed.



Xerez v Real Madrid, 19:00-Sky Sports 3

Xerez (9/1) are definitely improving and (with a squad little different to the one they started the season with) most of the credit must go to new coach Nestor Gorosito who has clearly instilled confidence within his players.

Avoiding the Segunda division looks unlikely, but the sherry makers look sweet enough to beat the all time lowest seasonal tally of 15 La Liga goals (set by Logrones in 1994-95) with 12 so far.

Espanyol offered Real (1/4) little opposition last week and considering that Xerez have conceded ten goals from headers this season, Sergio Ramos could be seen as a suitable long shot to repeat the early headed goal he got against the Catalans, he is 14/1 to score first or 11/2 anytime.

Benzema clearly gained little confidence from his brace in A Coruna two weeks ago, but Higuain is back (came off the bench and scored last week) and should attract money as a 4/5 anytime scorer.



Villarreal v Athletic Bilbao, 21:00-Sky Sports 3

Villarreal (5/6) were very unlucky to lose to a late Mallorca goal last time out, but they can kick start their revival with a win against Athletic (3/1) this evening.

At this point it's not clear who will form the yellow submarines regular strike force, but Nilmar is expected to fill one of the slots and is available at 11/2 to score first or 6/4 anytime.

Bilbao's Llorente (7/1 to score first or 2/1 anytime) bagged a brace to give Athletic a come from behind win against Xerez last weekend and is certainly worth consideration.

A draw (12/5) should be considered and with this game live on Sky Sports, betting in play could also prove to be a useful option.

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



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