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Jonathan Cordingley 22nd Jan 2010 - 23:25

Sunday's La Liga previews

Tenerife v Valencia 16:00

Tenerife (4/1) are responsible for a sizeable depletion of my betting funds for last weekend and it appears they are gathering confidence after outplaying Barca for half an hour and drawing at on the up Almeria.

Valencia, while still prone to the odd defensive clanger, were fantastic against Villarreal and if not for some harsh officiating could have had five or six.

Villa (7/2 first scorer or evens anytime) bagged a brace, so I'm going to start backing him again. Mata (13/2 first scorer or 7/4 anytime) and Silva (5/1 first scorer or 11/8 anytime) are also worth consideration, but I'd give the returning Pablo Hernandez (15/2 first scorer or 2/1 anytime) a miss until he gets more playing time.

Valencia are in great form away from home and even at 8/13 provide the best bet of the weekend for my money. If you fancy a bigger price and larger risk, Valencia -1 looks tempting at 7/4.



Espanyol v Mallorca 16:00

Terry is a regular contributor to the comments section and has provided winners through his knowledge of Espanyol. Last week he and I thought that they would get at least a point from their visit to Pamplona, but two goals in nine minutes put paid to that and I'd be interested to know what he thinks about this one as it's another difficult pick.

Espanyol (11/8) had been getting better, but despite the impossible to predict opening nine minutes, this defeat shows that they only have one away win for a reason.

Put simply, Mallorca (7/4) are perfect at home (in La Liga) and far from it away. Does this mean that the home team wins this one? I'm not sure at all but as I've decided to pick (not necessarily bet on) something for every game, I'm going with a draw (11/5).



Sporting Gijon v Racing Santander 16:00

Sporting (13/10) lost to Atletico last week, but showed they had fight in them and will expect to squeeze past Racing (19/10) this Sunday.

Like many teams, Racing's draw with Valladolid resulted in me losing funds, so I will avoid betting on them this week.

Sergio Canales (13/2 first scorer or 7/4 to score anytime) has scored three goals in three games and is therefore theoretically a good suggestion to score.

I think Sporting's home form will carry them through, but I am by no means sure of this.



Villarreal v Real Zaragoza 16:00

Neither team is playing well nor scoring much but Villarreal (4/9) will be expected to win this one.

While he was gifted a goal last week, Nilmar (4/1 to score first, 11/10 anytime) has good pedigree and will go to South Africa with Brazil in the summer. The submarines lack confidence and a final ball through at the moment, but if their wide players can get a cross in, Nilmar is a great header of the ball and has a goal in each of his last two games.

I'm going to have a small bet on the Brazilian, but Rossi (11/8 anytime scorer) may also be worth consideration.

Zaragoza (6/1) failed to beat Xerez at home last week and caused me financial anguish - I thought that they could at least win one nil!

Seemingly not, but the way my predictions went last week, maybe they can get something out of this. Based on the opening to this preview, you would expect a low scoring game (under 2.5 goals is 19/20).



Xerez v Osasuna 16:00

A new manager and a surprising draw at Zaragoza for Xerez (21/10) last time out. Does this mean anything in the long term? Probably not as they are woefully out of their depth and have no money for re-enforcements, but a draw away from home will give them a little confidence in the short term.

Osasuna (6/5) are another team that surprised last time out (2 up against Espanyol in 9 mins) and you would have to favour them over Xerez with Pandiani (9/2 to score first or 5/4 anytime) back amongst the goals.



Getafe v Atletico Madrid 18:00 - Sky Sports 1

Getafe (6/4) lost and gave me a successful pick last week, so despite their good home form, I'm going to bet against them again and pick Atletico (8/5) in this Madrid derby.

Getafe have some decent players and posess a threat in Roberto Soldano (11/2 to score first, 6/4 anytime), so a draw (11/5) or even a home win cannot be ruled out as Atletico pretty much always concede goals.

Both teams to score (7/10) is therefore usually worth a punt.

I would also suggest consideration of the double chance bet of Atletico or draw (2 or X) at 4/9

Kun Aguero can score goals and is priced at 11/2 to get the first or 6/4 to bag one anytime, but a lot depends on the fitness of Diego Forlan (6/1 first scorer or 7/4 anytime) for me, so I'll hang fire before betting.



Real Madrid v Malaga 20:00 - Sky Sports 1

I bet a sizeable amount on Real just after they went a goal down and even backed a draw later on, but regret the non-existent feeling of weight my wallet now carries. I cannot however fault my judgment under the circumstances as Real (1/6) pummelled Athletic and if not for dogged defending and spurned chances would have won comfortably.

Real are clearly missing the decisive sharpshooting of Gonzalo Higuain and I was right to ignore Kaka (6/5 to score at anytime) and Benzema (10/11 to score anytime) as scorers.

Ronaldo (11/4 to score first, 8/13 to score at anytime) is not on fire in front of goal either, so unless one of these three turns the tide against Malaga, we might have to look to other areas (and perhaps set pieces) for scorers.

Garay has been playing well and has already scored this season, so he could be a suitable long shot at 20/1 as the game's first scorer (he is 7/1 to score anytime). Another long shot is Marcello who should have greater scoring opportunities now that he plays on the left side of midfield (rather than left back). He is 15/2 to score first.

I'm pleased to give tonight's visitors some credit for they have pulled themselves out of the relegation zone with impressive wins over Mallorca and Getafe.

William Hill Online sponsored Malaga (11/1) have also drawn a lot of games, but the improvement is clear to see and given how close the bottom half of La Liga often proves to be, the anchovies have every chance of survival.

I certainly hope they do just that, but in the short term they will struggle to get anything out of this game. Real's attackers may be misfiring, but they will nonetheless be looking to put on a five star performance for the demanding Bernabeu crowd.

Let's not forget that while Real have also made improvements, this time in defending set pieces, they are still not great in that area, so that and exposing Albiol and Garay for pace are Malaga's best hope.

It is not clear who will start up front for Malaga, but Duda (7/1 anytime scorer) is an expert free kick taker and is key to the success of the team.

I would love to see an upset, but don't hold out much hope.

Enjoy the action and don't forget that you can bet In-Play with William Hill Online.



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