Sunday's La Liga previews
Getafe v Racing Santander, 16:00
Getafe (10/11) are currently Madrid's second best team but face a tough tie against Racing Santander (11/4) this Sunday. Both teams played in the Copa Del Rey midweek, Racing with a 3-0 win over Osasuna and Getafe with a 1-0 (home) defeat to Mallorca.
Both teams have small squads and deserve credit for maintaining decent form while competing on two fronts, but you have to imagine that there will be a few tired legs out there this afternoon.
The energetic young legs of Sergio Canales (7/1 for the first goal or 15/8 to anytime) will likely be exempt from this factor and anyone looking for a Getafe scorer should consider the 24 year old Roberto Soldado (9/2 for the first goal or 5/4 anytime) who has yielded 10 goals so far in La Liga this season.
This is another match I am not certain of, but Getafe are good at home and Racing won away last week so I'm going to factor in potential tiredness and possibly a few different faces and say draw (9/4).
Tenerife v Real Zaragoza, 16:00
Tenerife (19/20) host Zaragoza (13/5) in a bottom of the table clash that will no doubt be dubbed a "six pointer". Zaragoza did manage a couple against a complacent Villarreal side in the second half of their match last week, but they don't have a consistent goal scorer that's worth mentioning and neither do Tenerife.
Tenerife have a good record at home, but I simply can't be sure of a verdict on this one. For sake of choosing something so I can keep a tally of how many match outcomes I can predict per week, I'll take a narrow home win, but you should also consider the draw (9/4).
My best suggestion for this one is that you bet in play.
Valladolid v Almeria, 16:00
Almeria (23/10) could not score last weekend and my thoughts of a draw turned to defeat when a puddle assisted Alvaro Negredo for the game's solitary goal. Still, Almeria +2 goals and under 2.5 goals in the match proved to be winners and the latter (7/10 in today's game) again seems applicable against gun shy Valladolid (21/20).
It's rumoured that Valladolid coach Jose Luis Mendilibar will be shown the door if Almeria win this tie and given that these situations usually play out as suggested (see Hugo Sanchez and Almeria's visit to Espanyol), Almeria deserve attention at 23/10.
As you have may have guessed, the real question is "but can Almeria actually score!" Against an under motivated team with no confidence it's more likely than usual be it from a technical mistake, set piece or lapse in concentration, but If you err on the side of caution the double chance bet of Almeria or draw (2 or X) could be for you- it is priced at 8/11.
Villarreal v Osasuna, 16:00
Yellow submarines coach Ernesto Valverde lambasted his players for their second half performance against Zaragoza in which they let their opponents back into the game when it should have been dead and buried at two nil.
Villarreal (6/10) eventually won 4-2, but with a few under committed players who see their futures elsewhere, it's easy to see why they've struggled to fulfil recent expectations.
Nilmar and Rossi scored in that tie and today are priced at 4/1 and 9/2 to score first or 11/10 and 5/4 to score at anytime. Walter Pandiani did not find the net last time out, but with at least one of Villarreal's defenders unhappy, he may find opportunities in this match and is priced at 2/1 to score at anytime.
Osasuna (9/2) won at Xerez last weekend as expected and could cause Villarreal problems; even so I'd expect a home win but prefer to put my own money on Nilmar who has now scored three goals in his last three La Liga games.
Back a streak until it ends, but don't be surprised when it does.
Xerez v Mallorca, 16:00
Mallorca were lucky to escape Barcelona with a point last weekend, but like just about any capable team who visit Xerez (23/10), you'd expect an away win.
Sure Mallorca (23/20) have only won once away from home in La Liga this season, but given the opposition it seems foolish to consider anything else. Egg on my face come Sunday evening? I'll chance it at 23/20.
Atletico Madrid v Malaga, 19:00-Sky Sports 1 (second half only)
Pathetic in the Madrid derby last week, the thin paper covering a few of the cracks withered away as Atletico (1/2) reverted to type and lost one nil.
Three La Liga wins in a row had raised confidence and one or two of the players who were perceived to be problematic were moved on, but Los Colchoneros coach Quique Sanchez Flores has once again publicly criticized his underperforming team and several members of the squad have in return blamed the manager for the team's current position.
Not a happy camp and the players are even fighting amongst there selves with Diego Forlan (3/1 for the first goal or 8/11 to score at anytime) and former Arsenal winger Jose Antonio Reyes chief culprits.
All of this makes me think that Malaga (11/2) will get something out of this game, but can they score?
The anchovies front line has little consistency and I'm not about to recommend recent loan signing Felipe Caicedo (10/3 to score at anytime) , but like I said last week, Duda (11/2 to score at anytime) carries a threat from set pieces and could well have a say in the outcome of this match.
Given their lack of firepower, all three points is a big ask, but Malaga can get a draw (13/5) and the double chance bet of Malaga or draw (2 or X) is a bet that is worth serious consideration at 29/20.
If you bet on this match, don't forget that it kicks off at 18:00 UK time.
Sevilla v Valencia, 20:00-Sky Sports 1
Fabiano is back from injury and Kanoute has returned from the African Cup of Nations, but surely they will both be rusty and anyone looking for a home scorer may instead look to Alvaro Negredo (6/1 to score first or 7/4 anytime) who has four goals in seven league and cup games.
Despite Sevilla's (5/4) narrow win on the swamp like surface of the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, I'm not convinced they are anywhere near certainties against average teams and average Valencia are not!
Los Che coach Unai Emerey spoke of the danger of complacency and the need to take their opponents seriously prior to Valencia's (19/10) visit to Tenerife last weekend, clearly his players didn't listen. The biggest culprits were Silva (9/4 anytime scorer) and Villa (5/4 anytime scorer) who both played well below their usual standards.
Perhaps, as "The Clubber" suggested in my comments section last week, the pint sized duo sampled the local nightlife and thought they just had to turn up to win.
Joaquin has been playing well recently (ever noticed that this happens when the transfer window opens) and his more reliable long term successor Pablo Hernandez is on the comeback trial after injury, but numbers seven and twenty-one are key to Valencia and often the difference between a draw and a win.
I hope they are both back on form this as this is without doubt the game of the weekend and one in which I think Valencia can triumph.