Spanish La Liga - Weekend Preview
Spanish La Liga Preview 24/03 by Mark Young (Twitter: @markyoung1988)
What a difference a week makes. The gap is closing and Lionel Messi is a record breaker. It has been Barcelona's week and definitely not Real Madrid's.
Two one all draws against Malaga to a sucker punch Santi Cazorla free kick and a disappointing point at Villarreal, finishing with nine men have Real looking over their shoulder but only slightly with the gap now at six.
Barcelona on the other hand beat Sevilla 2-0 on Saturday and knocked five past Granada in a 5-3 home win on Tuesday. A closer game than expected but the Lionel Messi hat trick restored the status quo, Barcelona winning. Add to that, Messi breaking a club goal scoring record, Guardiola and co are in the ascendency.
Both teams play on Saturday this week as they look forward to Champions League quarterfinal first leg matches mid week. The weekend kicks off with Barcelona travelling to the home of Rafael Nadal, Mallorca. The Catalan giants are 2/9 for all three points and at this stage of the season it is very hard to envisage Barcelona dropping points, especially when they have six more points to chase down. Another 2-0 away victory could be on the cards at 6/1. If another Messi hat trick is fancied you will receive 4/1. Two or more goals is 4/1.
Fresh from red cards for Sergio Ramos and Mesut Ozil along with Mourinho being sent to the stands, Real have what should be a comfortable home match against Real Sociedad. Pepe has been banned for insulting comments at Wednesday's referee but one of Ramos' yellow cards from the match has been rescinded and will be available. Real Sociedad lost 3-1 to Levante on Tuesday and look in danger of the drop. Madrid are 1/7 to record the victory and really should walk this game but the William Hill Match Winner covers if you believe the match will be tight. Sociedad to score first and Real to win is priced at 7/1, boosted from 5/1.
The final game on Saturday night sees Valencia travel to Getafe and after an impressive 3-0 victory against Bilbao last week they lost 2-1 to Zaragoza after being one nil up and a man up for most of the game. This could be a tight game and the 19/10 for the draw is well worth snapping up.
Sunday could all be about the fight for fourth position. Atletico Madrid are a brilliant 3 /4 to win away at Zaragoza. They did win at Valencia but two big results in a week seems beyond them. Atletico Madrid are on fire at the moment and just cannot see beyond them.
Espanyol play a resurgent Malaga fresh off scoring a late equaliser at Betis on Wednesday. Espanyol are 7/5 to win at home and although Malaga's form is picking up, Espanyol are a strong outfit and the home win looks really good value as does the Match Winner. Coutinho to score and Espanyol to win is priced at 6/1.
Levante are at home to Osasuna, Bilbao host Sporting Gijon, Villarreal travel to Vallecano, Betis host a poor Santander team and Sevilla go to Granada with the stand out prices being Rayo at 21/20 and Levante at 11/10.