La Liga Week 23 Preview

Written by @Wayde_D for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

La Liga leaders Real Madrid suffered their heaviest defeat in over four years as reigning champions Atletico Madrid overpowered them in a scintillating derby. Injury-hit Real were forced to name a makeshift defence for the short trip to the Vicente Calderon - and it was easily exposed by Atletico's ruthless attack. Cristiano Ronaldo’s return was not enough for Madrid to break down the defending champions. However, Real still maintain top spot over Barca by just a point while Atletico are just four points off the log leaders. Real and Barca are expected to get home wins this weekend but Atletico travel to Celta Vigo without five key players due to the intensity of the Madrid derby.

Almeria  17/10 
Draw  21/10 
Real Sociedad  17/10
Almeria built on their win at home to Getafe by earning a relegation six-pointer at Cordoba 2-1 last weekend. They have another chance of taking points off another relegation candidate this weekend when they host Real Sociedad, who lie just a point and a place above them. Sociedad are the only team who have not won an away game this season, losing five and drawing five of their travels and have only managed to score six goals while conceding seventeen. To make matters worse, Almeria won the first round meeting and also won this fixture last season. The home win looks a great bet.

Sevilla  7/20 
Draw  38/10 
Cordoba  72/10
Sevilla will be glad to return home after losing their last four travels in all competitions. They have lost fourth place in the process but should return to winning ways as they host relegation threatened Cordoba. Cordoba have lost their last three matches and are coming off a home loss to Almeria. While Sevilla haven’t travelled well, the reverse fixture against Cordoba was one of their away victories this season, winning 3-1. These sides have met six times with Sevilla recording a 100% win record. Sevilla are unbeaten at home with eight wins from eleven games. The home win is a banker bet. 

Real Madrid  1/11 
Draw  9/1 
Deportivo  21/1
Real Madrid play Deportivo this weekend looking to put last weekend’s humiliation behind them. They were thrashed 4-0 at the Vicente Calderon by La Liga champions Atletico Madrid. The European champions were missing key defenders Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Marcelo, however, they have no excuses as they failed to get on the scoresheet. They maintain their point lead at the top of the table after beating Sevilla 2-1 at home in their catch-up game last Wednesday. Deportivo have a bad away record with just two wins from their ten games, losing five times. Madrid thrashed Deportivo 8-2 in the reverse fixture and with no value in the home win, the over 3.5 goals market looks a banker at 6/10. 

Granada  19/10 
Draw  2/1 
Athletic Bilbao  16/10
The lowest scoring team in the league, Granada, will host erratic Athletic Bilbao. Bilbao fell to a 5-2 home loss against Barcelona last weekend while Granada were 2-0 losers at Villarreal. Bilbao managed a 2-0 win in their last away game but Granada won their last home match 1-0 against Elche. With goalscoring a problem for both sides, the draw looks the best bet.

Malaga  21/20 
Draw  23/10 
Espanyol  28/10
After beating Valencia at home, Malaga were shocked with a 4-1 thrashing from Levante on the road last weekend. Espanyol have been doing reasonably well but are coming off losses against Sevilla and Valencia. The first round meeting was drawn 2-2 but with home advantage Malaga have to be backed, especially taking into consideration their last home win over Valencia. 

Valencia  9/20 
Draw  7/2 
Getafe  6/1
Valencia reclaimed fourth spot with an excellent 2-1 win away to Espanyol. They will host a Getafe side who have travelled poorly with six losses and just two wins from ten games. Valencia have been excellent at home, losing to just Barcelona and recording nine wins and a draw in their other ten games. Valencia have dominated matches against Getafe winning twelve of the last sixteen meetings. They won the reverse fixture 3-0 and should pull the double over Getafe here.

Barcelona  1/16 
Draw  12/1 
Levante  26/1
Lionel Messi was the star once again as Barcelona shone, thumping Athletic Bilbao 5-2. The Argentine got on the scoresheet just once but was magical throughout, setting up fellow stars Neymar and Luis Suarez’s goals. Striker David Barral fired a hat-trick as Levante moved off the foot of the table with a 4-1 win against Malaga. The Valencia-based side had not won any of their previous nine games but ended that run in emphatic fashion. Barca have lost just one game at home this season while Levante have won just once on the road. The reverse fixture ended in a 5-0 win for Barca and a Half-Time win at 3/10 looks a sure bet this time. 

Rayo Vallecano  23/10 
Draw  5/2 
Villarreal  11/10
Rayo Vallecano slumped to their third loss on Monday night, going down 2-0 away to relegation candidates Elche. They will host a Villarreal side who are keeping pace with Valencia and Sevilla for the coveted fourth spot. Villarreal have won the last six meetings between the sides, however, they have been inconsistent on the road recording just four wins from eleven games. Vallecano are tipped to hold them to a draw.

Celta Vigo  3/1 
Draw  9/4 
Atletico Madrid  1/1
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is counting the cost of his team's dominant victory against archrivals Real Madrid. Simeone's squad emerged with a memorable 4-0 win but they will now travel to Celta Vigo on Sunday minus some key players due to injury and suspension. Playmaker Koke is suffering a hamstring injury to his left leg and will be out for at least two weeks. Saul Niguez is out with an injured left knee and Uruguay defender Diego Godin is recovering from a broken nose. Simeone will also be without Arda Turan and Raul Garcia who are suspended on accumulated yellow cards. Their opponents are coming off a 1-1 draw away to Real Sociedad and more importantly have done well in their last two home games drawing 1-1 with Valencia and beating Cordoba. Celta managed a 2-2 draw away to Atletico in the first round and are tipped to pull off a shock win here.

Eibar  11/10 
Draw  2/1 
Elche  29/10
Eibar’s fortuitous run has ended and they are now winless in four league matches with their last three games ending in losses. They will host a resurgent Elche side who have won three of their last five league games. Elche are coming off a superb performance, outclassing Rayo Vallecano 2-0 at home. However, Eibar won the reverse fixture 2-0 and the draw looks a probable outcome. Elche to Win/Draw is tipped at 13/20.

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