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Jonathan Cordingley 6th Mar 2011 - 14:10

Sunday's La Liga previews

Hercules v Almeria, 16:00

Losing 1-0 away to Villarreal midweek, Hercules (19/20) continued their long running tradition of failing to score on away ground.

Usually, when Hercules are playing at home you can count on two things: They will win and Trezeguet (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime) will score. However, in Alicante last weekend neither lived up to their reputation as Hercules drew 0-0 with Getafe.

Today's opponents, bottom of the table Almeria (3/1), drew 1-1 at home to Racing midweek. On the scoresheet was Crusat (14/1 to score first, 11/2 anytime).

Considering that they were playing against a ten man team for most of the game, Almeria really should have beaten Racing. The Verdiblancos are on a roll though, so it's not the worst result in the world.

In conclusion, I see this as a learning game to judge whether Hercules and Trez can get back to normal at home. Given that reasoning, I'd suggest serious punters steer clear and casual bettors chance the anytime wincast of Trezeguet and Hercules (21/10).


Levante v Espanyol, 16:00

A stunning 25 yard strike from Del Horno (25/1 to score first, 8/1 anytime) earned Levante (13/10) a point at Sociedad midweek. With only one shot on target from either team, I'm glad that Spanish subscription channel Gol TV chose to show one of the other games instead!

The day before, Espanyol (21/10) lost 2-1 at home to Mallorca in a very entertaining clash that had several shots on target- including a missed penalty.

After Mallorca had missed that penalty, Vazquez (6/1 to score first, 7/4 anytime) gave the Catalans the lead only to see it squandered late in the game.

The fact is, Espanyol have sold half of their defence and are suffering because of it. The Catalans are also missing top scorer Osvaldo and have nobody consistent - or similar - enough to fill his boots.

Home advantage, a well organised defence and the ability to score two goals will probably allow you to beat Espanyol at the moment.

With Caicedo injured, two goals is possibly a big ask for Levante today. Nevertheless, I fancy Levante to win and Espanyol to score so I'll take a small punt on the home team winning 2-1 (priced at 17/2) to compliment my main bet.

Recommendation: Levante (13/10)


Malaga v Osasuna, 16:00

Resting most of his regular starting 11, Malaga (evens) manager Manuel Pellegrini demonstrated what a small club mentality he and his anchovies have when surrendering 7-0 to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu midweek.

Though this is not the first time it has happened in the league this season, such an attitude must be punished by the league. It won't happen though, and you could argue that Pellegrini's tactics are understandable given their opposition. I don't like to see it, certainly not until the final few rounds of the season when we can all profit from such defeatism!

Anyway, on to Osasuna (11/4), who drew 0-0 with Deportivo midweek. Though I didn't see the game, I have seen highlights and Osasuna deserved to win. Good goalkeeping and the woodwork cost them all three points, but it was a decent performance overall.

Overall, Osasuna lack firepower and Malaga cannot be trusted. A draw therefore sounds sensible at 12/5, but I don't trust anything in this game and opt not to bet on it at all.

However, should you want a bet, most of Malaga's starting 11 will be fully rested and coach Pellegrini must win this game. Needs must is available at even money.


Sporting Gijon v Getafe, 16:00

With Eguren dismissed in the 27th minute and a penalty awarded as a consequence, Sporting (13/10) stood little chance of getting anything from their trip to Seville and duly lost 3-0.

Through virtue of a 3rd minute Manu (8/1 to score first, 11/4 anytime) goal, Getafe (11/5) drew 1-1 at home to Atletico Madrid midweek.

The Azulones should have put Atletico to bed, but Los Colchoneros had the better of the second half and a draw seemed a fair outcome in the end.

Speaking of the end, word is that it could nigh for Getafe manager Michel as his chairman - noted for his patience with managers - has spoke of his discontent at recent results.

Such rumblings have been made before, but the manager has remained. Getafe are a total wildcard in every sense though, who knows what will happen on and off the playing field in the weeks to come.

All I know is that Sporting are the clear pick in tonight's matchup and I expect them to win by a 1-0 scoreline (priced at 6/1).

Recommendation: Sporting (13/10)


Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla, 18:00-Sky Sports 1

Taking the lead through Llorente (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime), Athletic (7/5), as is often the case, could not build on their early lead and lost 2-1 at home to Zaragoza.

That defeat was Bilbao's 4th in a row. They have played two top teams in Barcelona and Valencia, but need to start winning games if they are to remain in contention for a European place.

As reported in the Sporting preview, Sevilla (2/1) beat their opponents 3-0 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan midweek. Playing against ten men for the most of the game certainly helped, but Sevilla looked a threat when attacking and will fancy their chances of pulling off a shock in Bilbao this evening.

If they are to win at San Mames as they have done in the past, Manzano's charges will look to Fabiano (9/2 to score first, 6/5 anytime) and Negredo (11/2 to score first, 6/4 anytime) to give them the win. Along with winger Perotti (11/1 to score first, 4/1 anytime), both scored against Sporting.

Saying with scoring, both to do so seems to be the easiest bet on paper tonight. The price is only 4/6, but it's understandable with leaky defences on show.

In conclusion, the 90 minute market is a hard pick but I think Sevilla can win and, given that Bilbao keep losing 2-1, will take a small punt on The Andalusian's beating the Basque's by that scoreline (priced at 9/1).

Recommendations: Both teams to score (4/6)

Worth a punt: Sevilla win and over 2.5 match goals (16/5).


Racing Santander v Real Madrid, 20:00-Sky Sports 1

Since Marcelino returned as coach, Racing (7/1) are undefeated. Last weekend they were very unfortunate to draw 2-2 at home to Villarreal after conceding in injury time.

This result was of grave disappointment to me as I had backed Racing! Nevertheless, Los Verdiblancos did well against La Liga's 4th best team and are fast improving as a team.

Confidence and never say die spirit are what Marcelino instills within his players, and more recent evidence of this came in the 1-1 midweek draw away to Almeria.

Playing for all but 17 minutes of the game with 10 men, Racing took the lead before their numerical playing disadvantage took its toll.

Colsa (25/1 to score first, 8/1 anytime) scored Racing's goal in Almeria, but tonight attention might be better served in considering former Barcelona and on-loan Tottenham attacker Giovanni Dos Santos (12/1 to score first, 5/1 anytime) to score as he's looked good since returning to Spain and will be eager to impress with Real in town.

Real Madrid (2/5) drew 0-0 away to bogey team Deportivo last weekend, but blew Malaga away 7-0 at the Bernabeu midweek. Scoring a hat-trick was the now injured Ronaldo.

Without Ronaldo Real are a far lesser side and cannot be counted on to score bucket loads of goals. However, Benzema (7/2 to score first, 10/11 anytime) has scored a few recently - including 2 against Malaga - and though he is a player I have never backed to score for Real, he's worth considering due to being the only fit striker besides Adebayor.

Maybe Man City reserve Adebayor (10/3 to score first, 4/5 anytime) will start today with Real's priority the upcoming Champions League tie with Lyon, but I can't be sure and he's not worth the risk at consistently short prices with little form under his belt.

Di Maria (13/2 to score first, 15/8 anytime) is the Real player that has impressed me the most recently so i'd be inclined to punt on him if I wanted a Los Blancos scorer.

Certainly Racing will want to beat Madrid tonight and did so a few years ago, but I can't see Real dropping points two weekend's in a row and will punt on them doing just enough to win the second half after drawing the first.

Recommendation: Double result of Draw/Real Madrid (4/1)

Whatever you choose, enjoy the action and don't forget that you can always bet in-play online or on the phone with William Hill.


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