The Weekend La Liga Preview
La Liga Preview. Weekend of 24/9 by Mark Young (Twitter: markyoung1988)
As another game week passes more points go missing for the big two in Spain. Real Madrid dropped more points away from home at Racing, which is five points in a week as Barcelona only drew at the Mestalla on Wednesday night.
A lacklustre performance from Ronaldo and co on Wednesday evening saw Los Blancos come away with a 0-0 draw. This is simply not good enough for Madrid where cracks are starting to appear. Rumours of divides in the camp have been filtering through for a while now but they get highlighted even more when results are not going their way. They have a chance to get back on track on Saturday evening as they finally have a home game. It must seem like an eternity since the win against Getafe a fortnight ago. Newly promoted Rayo Vallecano are the visitors this weekend and they could be cannon fodder for a Madrid side that haven't scored in their last two outings. Cristiano Ronaldo will be desperate for a goal and once one comes against Vallecano he might not be able to control himself. A hat trick at 8/1 is short but it may not be far off.
Real will be hoping for a favour from in form city rivals Atletico later on Saturday. A daunting trip to the Nou Camp beckons for them but they do go into it in goal scoring form. After scoring two blanks in the first two games Atletico have scored eight in the previous two, including five from Falcao. He is on fire and is a huge 5/1 to score anytime against a Barcelona back line which does look a little suspect. He is 12/1 to net first. The man that is making them tick though is Brazilian playmaker Diego. He and Arda Turan will be trying to slice Barcelona open. It will be tough for the Catalans after a hard fought draw away at Valencia in mid week but they will fancy keeping the pressure on Madrid. They will know exactly what they need to do to maintain this as they kick off later than their rivals from the capital. Atletico are 5/4 with a two goal head start and as they are likely to score this could be worth a bit of a punt this weekend.
Valencia have another tough game this weekend too. They dropped their first points against Barcelona on Wednesday and now go away to Sevilla on Saturday. Valencia are 11/5 to pick up the victory and the confidence will be flowing because dropping points against Barcelona is not really a disappointment. Both teams have goal scorers in Negredo and Soldado so both teams to score have got to be fancied. A 1-1 draw at 6/1 would be a result that especially Unai Emery's Valencia will take after a long week.
Sunday night is a chance for Malaga to be live on the telly away at Real Zaragoza. Santi Cazorla scored once again mid week as tipped up here and everything that Malaga are doing well at the moment comes through him. At 6/5 Pellegrini's boys are a big price to pick up a fourth successive win after their opening day defeat to Sevilla. Martin Demichellis' deflected effort won the game for Malaga in their last away trip at Mallorca but it was later given as an own goal. The ex Bayern Munich defender is 25/1 and with the quality of the delivery from corners from Cazorla and Joaquin he could well take advantage of a shaky Zaragoza defence.
The team with the only 100% record left in La Liga, Real Betis, travel to Getafe on Monday evening and are 9/5 to continue their magnificent form. The momentum is with them and that 9/5 could well worth be taking. Roque Santa Cruz opened his account with a brace against Zaragoza on Thursday and will be looking to kick on.
Elsewhere, Bielsa's Bilbao take on Villarreal, Mallorca host Sociedad, Espanyol travel to Levante, Granada play Osasuna and Sporting Gijon play Racing Santander.