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Jonathan Cordingley 19th Feb 2010 - 10:15

Sunday's Spanish La Liga previews

Athletic Bilbao v Tenerife, 16:00

Athletic (4/6) had two players sent off in their defeat to Villarreal last weekend and hair pulling was one of the reasons why!

Disgraceful, embarrassing scenes for the club and its fans no doubt, you would however expect the forgiving, passionate San Mames crowd to will them on to victory against Tenerife (18/5) this afternoon.

Key to the home team's success as usual is talisman and Spanish International Fernando Llorente. Fernando scores more at home than he does away and therefore looks to be the best goalscorer bet today, he is 4/1 to score first or 11/10 anytime.

If you want another Athletic player to consider, team mate Iker Muniain (5/1 to score first, 11/8 anytime) is a prodigious talent but is in his first full season in the first team and will not play every game, especially when you factor in Athletic's involvement in the Europa league.

As regular reader Jimbo suggested in my comments section for Monday night's Tenerife v Mallorca game, if in doubt pick a home win.

Even though I wasn't sure, I wanted to stick to my own logic (see Saturday's preview for Mallorca v Sevilla) and given the profitable weekend I'd had betting, was prepared to take a risk on a draw and chase a bigger price.

As is happened, Tenerife proved Jimbo's theory to be correct, but Tenerife are an altogether different prospect away from home and have yet to win on their travels in La Liga this season.

Two draws and eight defeats make up the Islanders away record so "if in doubt" should therefore not apply to this game, despite Athletic missing a couple of players through suspension.

Goes down as a home win on my new small stakes "predict the outcome of every match" accumulator.


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Malaga v Espanyol, 16:00

As I expected Malaga (23/20) beat a tired Racing side last weekend and today face Espanyol (21/10), a team that has won only once on the road this season.

I see no reason for this statistic to improve (sorry Terry!) and while a draw (9/4) is entirely possible, I think the William Hill Online sponsored team has enough momentum for me to put a "1" next to this on my coupon.

Now for some goalscorers; on loan Felipe Caicedo impressed me for the first time in a long time with his composure in netting Malaga's second goal in Santander last weekend.

Felipe is priced at 5/1 to score first or 11/8 anytime, with the other scorers from last week, Weligton and Obinna available at 22/1 and 5/1 as first scorers or 6/1 and 11/8 anytime.

Verdu (12/1 first scorer, 7/2 anytime) and Callejon (11/1 first, 3/1 anytime) each scored excellent goals in Espanyol's 2-0 win over Deportivo, and while he does not score as many as he did a couple of years ago, Luis Garcia (12/1 first, 7/2 anytime) is still my favourite Garcia (!) and skilful player for sure.


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Osasuna v Valladolid, 16:00

A goal was the only thing Osasuna (5/6) lacked in their 1-0 defeat in Andalusia last weekend and as they are generally hard to beat at home, they will be expected to win or at the very least, draw (23/10) this afternoon's game with Valladolid (3/1).

Former Deportivo favourite Walter Pandiani has been injured, suspended or simply unable to find the net in recent times but nonetheless remains a threat to the opposition's goal, Walter is 9/2 to score first or 5/4 anytime.

Valladolid drew with relegation rivals Zaragoza last weekend, but must consider there selves fortunate in that the goal they got was down to an error from Zaragoza keeper Carrizo

Diego Costa was credited with that a goal and should you fancy his luck to continue, the young Brazilian is available at 15/2 to score first or 2/1 anytime.

I'm by no means super confident, but this one goes down as a "1" on my new weekly small stakes "predict the outcome of every match" bet.


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Real Zaragoza v Sporting Gijon, 16:00

Not the result I wanted for Zaragoza (10/11) last weekend but a draw away from home is not a bad result for a team hovering around the relegation zone, and the early goal they conceded was down to a howler from their goalkeeper. 

As I pointed out last week, Humberto Suazo is a class act and one that has adapted quickly to Spanish football, his goal last week was pure quality and he should warrant serious attention in this game-Humberto is 5/1 to score first or 11/8 to score at anytime.

Anyone looking for a Sporting (11/4) goalscorer will be interested to know that Diego Castro has scored three of Sporting's last four goals, including a stunner in last week's match with Valencia. Senor Castro is 9/1 to score first or 5/2 to score at anytime.

Whether Humberto does or doesn't score I like the look of Zaragoza in this matchup.


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Almeria v Atletico Madrid, 18:00 (2nd half live on Sky Sports 1 at 19:00)

As reported previously, new Almeria coach Juan Manuel Lillo has done a decent job so far but comes up against the inconsistent Atletico Madrid in this live on Sky Sunday evening fixture.

Almeria (17/10) have increased their goal a game average recently with two in the draw away to Getafe last week and three in their home defeat of Sporting the week before. 

Five goals in two games has poured scorn on the usually successful under 2.5 goals (8/11 today) bet In an Almeria game, but when you consider that the Getafe were no doubt exhausted from their cup tie with Sevilla on the Wednesday prior to their match with Almeria, and add the fact that Sporting had most of their defence missing, it's debatable whether Almeria's relatively high scoring trend (over 2.5 goals in today's match is evens) will continue.

What isn't debatable is that Atletico (7/5) are a wild card, particularly away from home and they pretty much always fail to keep a clean sheet.

Atletico also usually score (both teams to score is 7/10) and most of their goals come from two time European Golden Shoe winner Diego Forlan (9/2 to score first, 5/4 anytime). The Uruguayan picked up a knock in Atletico's engrossing defeat of Barcelona last Sunday, but is expected to start in Almeria.

Fortunately I backed Forlan in a number of bets last week, thus ensuring Kun Aguero's (5/1 first scorer or 11/8 anytime) confidence drained performance (nothing else can explain his attempted pass to Forlan when one on one with the keeper) did not cost me some big prices, and big prices were indeed on offer for those who came to the correct conclusion last week. 

I must fit in a little mention for Simao (9/1 to score first, 5/2 anytime) who has always put in decent performances for Atletico and capped last week's off with a lovely free kick to stun Barca and put Los Colchoneros 2-0 up.

Also a quick mention must also go to Almeria's Pablo Piatti who may never play more than a handful of games for Argentina, but could develop into a very good player.

To be fair, he's not bad now and is available at 7/1 to score the first goal or 11/8 anytime. He scored last week and Atletico usually concede, so you never know, he might bag one today.

For sake of my small stakes "predict the 90 minute outcome of every match" bet, I'm banking on Atletico's firepower and confidence giving them an way win, but quite honestly am not anywhere near sure of this and would prefer to bet In-Play.

It should prove to be very revealing to see if Atletico can build on their recent successes, enjoy the game.



Real Madrid v Villarreal, 20:00-Sky Sports 1

World renowned and highly respected Spanish football expert Guillem Balague gave what I consider to be an accurate assessment of Real's style of play with and without Ronaldo on Sky's excellent Revista De La Liga show last Tuesday.

He said that with Cristiano in the line up, Madrid played like Manchester United (direct) and without him more like Villarreal (patiently controlling the ball in midfield).

It is therefore with great interest and coincidence that Real Madrid (2/7) host the yellow submarines this evening.

Former Villarreal and current Real Madrid coach coach Manuel Pellegrini will likely field Ronaldo (10/3 to score first, 4/5 anytime) in this game and CR9 did score a brace in Real's 3-0 away defeat of Xerez last weekend.

His colleague Gonzalo Higuain (10/3 to score first, 4/5 anytime) did not score in that game or the 1-0 midweek Champions League away defeat at the hands of Lyon, so he is not in the red hot "must bet on" category that someone like Diego Forlan is currently categorised in.

Villarreal (8/1) are a genuine threat to Real's perfect home La Liga record and their potential goalscorers are priced up in a similar way to what the pre mentioned Forlan and Aguero were last week when Atletico hosted Barcelona.

I back Nilmar nearly every game and at 9/1 as the game's first scorer or 10/3 anytime, today will be one of those games.

Anyone looking for an even bigger priced goalscorer should look to Marcos Senna (20/1 first goal or 7/1 anytime) who, as coincidence would have it, has just scored with a free kick against Wolfsburg as I write this preview!

It's worth factoring in that Villarreal will have had a day's less rest (from European action) than the undoubtedly larger and individually more talented Real Madrid squad, but fortune favours the brave, I love an upset and thoroughly enjoyed the old Villarreal style that was on show against Athletic (that kind of football is a major reason as to why I prefer to watch La Liga as opposed to the Premier league). I will therefore be having a small punt on the double chance bet of Villarreal or draw (2 or X) which is priced at 12/5.

I could easily be wrong and you must consider that predicting the outcome of every match (put £1 in the field after picking every match on the website and just marvel over the potential returns!) is probably a once in a lifetime winner!

Finally, handicaps with Villarreal given 1 and 2 goal starts are available at 5/2 and 17/20 respectively.


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


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