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Jonathan Cordingley 17th Mar 2011 - 20:39

Saturday's Spanish La Liga previews

Mallorca v Real Zaragoza, 17:00

Surprisingly drawing 1-1 away to Levante last weekend, Mallorca (19/20) have defender Ramis to thank for their point. Ramis (20/1 to score first, 7/1 anytime) scored for the second game in a row after netting a 25 yard free kick.

Scoring a brace for Zaragoza (3/1) in their shocking 4-0 demolition of Valencia was Gabi (12/1 to score first, 5/1 anytime). Also playing their part with a goal apiece were Jarosik and Herrera Ander.

In conclusion, though Zaragoza are playing well at the moment, you have fancy a home win today. I'd go with 2-1 to Mallorca (15/2) as a potential correct score, along with a "Yes" (10/11) in the both teams to score market and a punt not on the obvious choice of striker Webo (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime) to score for Mallorca, but on centre back Ramis netting for the third time in a row.

90 minute recommendation: Mallorca (19/20)

Worth an e/w punt to score first: Ramis (20/1)


Barcelona v Getafe, 19:00-Sky Sports 4

In an exceptional game, Barcelona drew 1-1 away to Sevilla last weekend. With an earlier free kick ruled out for no good reason at all, Messi scored Barcelona's only goal.

To the chagrin of everyone but Real Madrid fans, Messi also took an injury knock in Seville and - at the time of writing - I cannot be sure if he will start today.

What I can be sure of is that Barcelona (1/10) continually overplay instead of taking a shot from distance. Given this obvious, repetitive defect, you'd think that Afellay - who was acquired partly because of his ability to score long range goals -  would get more playing time in games Barca are not winning.

Certainly Xavi and Iniesta are capable, though why did it take until the 86th minute for the latter to have a long range punt that hit the bar? Belief in their style is perhaps the answer but, unless they are at their absolute best, they must have a plan b available.

Irritatingly inconsistent Getafe (18/1) don't even have a good plan a! On a rainy Monday night, the Azulones twice lead Athletic Bilbao before eventually drawing 2-2. Scoring both goals for Michel's boys was Manu (14/1 to score first, 11/2 anytime).

Overall, Barcelona without Messi are a different proposition. They could come out all guns blazing after the disappointment of last weekend, but there's little value to be found in betting on anything to do with the home team winning.

The double result of Draw/Barca (9/2) could be an exception and worth a punt, but consideration must also be given to a draw after 30 minutes at 6/5. So many times I've done Draw/Big team and they have scored between 35 and 45 minutes to ruin my bet!

Final consideration must go to handicap betting giving Getafe 2 and 3 goals starts at 2/1 and 3/4 respectively. Personally I've had enough of losing at short prices, so the 2 goal start is what I'd chance.


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

Despite twice leading at Almeria last weekend, Los Colchoneros ended up drawing 2-2 with their hosts. All was not lost by that result, however, as Atletico (23/5) looked very confident throughout and Aguero and Forlan are both in good form.

Out of the two, by virtue of his brace at Almeria, Aguero (7/1 to score first, 2/1 anytime) is the natural pick to make as a potential Atletico scorer today, but in my experience it is often the less consistent player that nets the goal I want so Forlan (15/2 to score first, 9/4 anytime) must be given equal billing.

Reyes (12/1 to score first, 5/1 anytime), a former Real Madrid player, is the final Atletico player worth a mention today. Jose Antonio scored a cracker against Valencia a couple of weeks ago and has been in great general form recently.

Real Madrid (4/6) beat Hercules 2-0 at the Bernabeu last weekend, with Benzema scoring both goals. Benzema (9/2 to score first, 6/5 anytime) also bagged one in Real's 3-0 home defeat of Lyon in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Ronaldo (11/4 to score first, 8/13 anytime) is back, but the red hot Benzema cannot be ignored and is given preference in my consideration of potential Real scorers.

Overall, I have to back Real Madrid today as the last time they lost to Atletico was in 1999. One of the scorers that day, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, will likely be in the Sky studios for this match and though he'd like to see his former employers defeat their illustrious neighbours today, I doubt he'd bet on it happening either.

Potential scorelines to consider are 2 and 3-1 to Real, priced at 7/1 and 11/1. For a double result I'd favour Real Madrid/Real Madrid (29/20) over Draw/Real Madrid (7/2), though credibility can be given to the latter in lieu of the fact they may be tired after midweek exertions in Europe.

Quite honestly, I can't be bothered stressing over who or how to back the players I think may score today so I'm going e/w on Benzema, Forlan and Aguero. If you don't fancy doing the same there are some decent prices suggestions labelled worth a punt beneath my main recommendation.

90 minute recommendation: Real Madrid (4/6)

Worth a punt to score as anytime scorers doubled: Forlan and Benzema (13/2), and Aguero and Benzema (6/1).


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