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Jonathan Cordingley 5th Feb 2010 - 21:39

Sunday's Spanish La Liga previews

Almeria v Sporting Gijon, 16:00

Almeria (23/20) have developed a habit of scoring no more than one goal per game and drawing a lot. You would therefore think that score lines of 1-0 to Almeria (9/2), 1-1 (also 9/2) and 0-0 (15/2) are worth a look, as is the draw itself (11/5).

Sporting (11/5) are decent at home (I thought they did very well against Barca last weekend) but have only won once away from their manor in La Liga. They are more attacking in general, but like Almeria are another team that runs a tight ship defensively, scoring few goals in the process.

Under 2.5 goals looks the best bet on paper, it is however very short priced at 8/13. Under 1.5 goals is 2/1 if you want a riskier bet with a bigger price.



Athletic Bilbao v Xerez, 16:00

Athletic (4/9) have disappointed recently but will be expected to overcome Xerez (6/1) at San Mames this weekend.

Llorente has not scored for a few games, but if any Athletic player does it's likely to be him, he is priced at 7/2 for the first goal and evens to score at anytime.

Xerez surprised many (although not "Polish Jan" from my comments section!) by beating high flying Mallorca last weekend and despite not having won a game away from home in the league this season, the threat of an upset in today's game is real!

For sake of my one pound (futile) attempt to predict the outcome of every game bet, I'll be putting a "1" next to this one, but I wouldn't be so sure with proper money.

Xerez have now scored ten goals in La Liga (still the lowest tally in Europe) and have a man in form with Carlos Calvo scoring two great goals (the first in particular) last weekend. Carlos is 12/1 to get the first goal or 7/2 to score at anytime.

If you fancy it, the draw is 14/5. Bet in play game for me.



Malaga v Deportivo La Coruna, 16:00

As I expected, William Hill Online sponsored Malaga (13/10) got something (all three points) from their trip to Madrid last weekend and given injury riddled Deportivo's (19/10) meek surrender of their seventeen year undefeated home record against Real Madrid in La Liga last weekend, must be considered favourites to continue their winning ways this Sunday at La Rosaleda.

Duda scored the first and would have brought a great return to anyone who backed the gifted Portuguese. This week he is 9/1 to score first or 5/2 to score anytime, but bear in mind the fact that he is only expected to score a few goals per season and is considered a more likely creator than scorer.

Caicedo (6/1 first scorer or 13/8 anytime) worked hard last week but has yet to convince in front of goal, so Baha might be a better proposition at 15/2 as the games first scorer or 2/1 to score at anytime.

The double chance bet of Malaga or draw (1 or X) is very short this week (4/11), so some may be tempted by the straight draw at 11/5.



Mallorca v Villarreal, 16:00

Mallorca (13/10) defend their 100% home La Liga record against the submarines in a clash that I think may be pivotal both teams success this season.

The Islanders started slowly away to Xerez last weekend and ultimately paid the price for this and a missed penalty when they were winning 1-0.

The general consensus (post match) was that the result was typical of over achieving Mallorca's away record and that things should go back to normal when they play at home.

I'm not convinced and think that Villarreal (19/10) will spoil the record, especially since the submarines had not been playing for now former boss Ernesto Valverde.

It seems the Villarreal players did not understand (or even want to try to) his tactics (high defensive line with a mixture of direct and passing football) and now that he's gone I expect some of the old yellow submarines style to (instantly) come back.

Nilmar did not score last week, but I'd still consider him if you fancy backing a scorer. The Brazilian dubbed "the new Bebeto" is 13/2 to score first or 7/4 to score at anytime.

Could be a good one to bet on in play but the draw has appeal price wise (11/5) and while short priced, the double chance bet of Villarreal or draw (2 or X) is worth consideration (6/10).

If I'm wrong I won't be disappointed as a streak such as Mallorca's is very rare in top level football and a great achievement for a club of its size.



Osasuna v Tenerife, 16:00

Osasuna (3/4) won 2-0 at Villarreal last weekend, but it's hard to judge such an impressive victory given that the submarines put little effort into that much (just look at the defending in the first goal they conceded).

However, with that victory Osasuna have now won more games away from home than they have in Pamplona (4 to 3), so perhaps they are bucking the trend that labelled them as a team tough to beat at home but inconsistent away.

They have a chance to make it 4-4 when they host Tenerife (10/3) this weekend and after the islanders grasped defeat from the jaws of victory last weekend, are favourites to take all three points.

Juanfran bagged a brace last time out and can be backed at 10/1 to score the first goal, 11/4 to score at anytime or even 20/1 to score two or more.



Real Zaragoza v Sevilla, 18:00 - 2nd half live on Sky Sports 1 @ 19:00

Going by last week's amazing come from behind win over Tenerife, Zaragoza (9/4) are developing a "never say die" attitude and could cause an upset at home to Sevilla (21/20) this weekend.

Three goals in thirteen minutes will no doubt be hard to repeat, but Zaragoza's new signings have brought much needed goals to the club when they are most in need of them.

Humberto Suazo scored one and set up another, while Colunga coolly lifted the ball over the Tenerife keeper to put Zaragoza 2-1 up. Both players are 13/2 to score first or 15/8 anytime.

Suazo has scored bucket loads in South America and Colunga has long been touted as a possible replacement for David Villa should he leave Valencia, so both deserve attention and I for one will be very interested to see how well their pairing performs this weekend.

Sevilla have all their players back and having beaten Valencia last weekend (along with taking a 2-0 lead in the first leg of their cup semi final with Getafe), they will go into this game full of confidence.

Impressive they were against Los Che, with wingers Navas (10/3 to scorer at anytime) and Perotti (11/4 to score at anytime) supplying the crosses and in form Negredo (9/2 first goal or 6/5 anytime) sublimely chipping Valencia keeper Cesar for his second goal of the game.

Speaking of Negredo, he was substituted with the game tied at 0-0 in the cup midweek for Romaric (a midfielder) in a move that luckily paid off for boss Jimenez when Fabiano scored the opener before an own goal made the Rojiblancos 2-0 winners on the night.

Fabiano is priced at 9/2 to score the first goal or 6/5 to score at anytime in today's game, while is long term strike partner Kanoute is 11/2 and 6/4 in the same markets.

Will Sevilla's tired legs take their toll and allow Zaragoza's new front line a point or more (Zaragoza or draw is 8/11)?

Find out with the second half live on Sky and many opportunities for you to bet in play with William Hill Online.



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

One of the shortest previews that I'll ever write as both teams met in the cup on Thursday evening (4-0 win for Atletico in Madrid) and have made a gentleman's agreement (could Racing be tempted to break that given that a 4-0 loss will be extremely hard to reverse in the second leg?) to field reserve teams in this fixture.

Working purely from Atletico's (17/10) poor away record (well that of their first team!) I would favour Racing (7/5), but without knowing line ups would prefer to bet in play.   



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