Real Madrid have turned their form around and successfully won their last three games in dominating fashion, outscoring their opponents 14-1. Iker Casillas appears to be a brick wall in front of the net, Cristiano Ronaldo is doing Cristiano Ronaldo things, and this club is now just one point behind Barcelona at the top of the standings thanks to Sevilla, who earned a commendable draw with Barca last weekend. The Catalan club faces another stern test this weekend as they host fourth-placed Valencia while Real are also at home to Malaga. Elsewhere the race for third spot also heats up as Atletico’s draw at Malaga allowed Valencia to move within a point of the champions.
Friday 17 April
Relegation scrappers Levante will host Espanyol in the opening game on Friday night. Levante are coming off losses against superior teams in Valencia and Sevilla. The visitors find themselves in eighth spot after two consecutive wins against Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao. The Barcelona based club drew their three matches prior to that which means they last suffered a league loss at the beginning of March while conceding only two goals in that five match run. Levante will be desperate to move out of the relegation zone and gain maximum points in a fixture that they have excelled in previously. The last time Levante lost at home to Espanyol was in 2004. Both teams will be pushing for the victory and I think backing Both Teams To Score at 21/20 is the best option.
Saturday 18 April
League leaders Barcelona face another tough challenge this weekend as they host a dangerous looking Valencia team who are gunning for Atletico Madrid’s third spot. Barca threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Sevilla and hand Real Madrid a lifeline in the La Liga title race. Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the fourteenth minute with a curled effort and Barcelona looked well on the way to a vital win when Neymar doubled the lead just past the half hour mark with an exquisite free-kick. However, Sevilla came back strong claiming a goal just before half time and then levelling matters in the 84th minute with Barca unable to find a winner late on. Valencia saw off local rivals Levante 3-0 on Monday night to consolidate their place in the top four. Headers from Paco Alcacer and Sofiane Feghouli earned Valencia the lead with Alvaro Negredo adding some glamour to the win with a superb volley late on. The victory moved Los Che three points clear of Sevilla and to within one of Atletico. Barcelona have dominated previous meetings between the two and won the reverse fixture 1-0. Valencia will try draw some inspiration from last season’s 3-2 victory at Camp Nou, which was their first win over the Catalans in fifteen matches. Barca are priced up too short for such a crucial test so I’m going for value and tipping the Barcelona Win + Both Teams To Score which is on offer at 27/20.
Atletico Madrid 8/10
Deportivo might be winless in their last nine matches but they are coming off a good point earned at Real Sociedad. However, it was not enough for them to move clear of the relegation zone and they are now tie with eighteenth-placed Levante on 28 points but lie sixteenth due to their slightly better goal difference. Their opponents are doing much better having not lost in their last eight matches, however, they have only managed four wins in that run. They are coming off an away draw with Malaga thanks to a brace from Antoine Griezmann. Atletico are firm favourites to oust the relegation scrappers having dominated previous meetings. The last thirteen head-to-heads have seen Atletico claim ten wins and two draws. Back Atletico to get back to winning ways.
Real Madrid 1/6
Cristiano Ronaldo continued his hot streak with the opening goal as an under-strength Real Madrid beat Eibar 3-0 in La Liga to move within two points of Barcelona. Ronaldo’s form dropped after Christmas, which coincided with Real losing top spot in La Liga, but he has now bounced back with eight goals from four games. Javier Hernandez and Jese Rodriguez were Real’s other scorers. Malaga are coming off a 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid but are winless in their last four games. Malaga have lost their last three away games 1-0 to Granada, Rayo Vallecano and Eibar. Los Blancos have won the last four encounters between the sides and should claim maximum points once again. Madrid will be coming off a taxing Madrid Derby in the Champions League so for value back Real Madrid to Win and Both Teams To Score available at 11/10.
Athletic Bilbao 13/20
Athletic Bilbao will be keen to get back to winning ways after a tough run of fixtures. Bilbao were on a five match winning streak but have come out winless in their last three matches losing away to Sevilla and Espanyol and drawing at home to Valencia. They will host a Getafe side whom they have beaten in the last three meetings. Getafe have been weak on the road, losing nine of their fifteen travels and winning just four. The home win is tipped.
Sunday 19 April
Rayo Vallecano 8/10
A humiliated Rayo Vallecano have a good chance to redeem themselves when they play host to relegation threatened Almeria. Vallecano were thrashed 6-1 at Celta Vigo last weekend but will be hopeful of three points at home against a team who have lost ten of their sixteen travels. Only one team has lost more away games than Almeria this season. They are, however, coming off a superb showing, thrashing Granada 3-0 at home. Vallecano have won the last three meetings between the sides. But looking at the last performance of these sides I’m backing the draw.
Sevilla mounted a sensational comeback from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Barcelona and maintain their unbeaten home record, while striking a blow to the Catalans’ title aspirations. They will be on the road this weekend to a Granada side who are coming off a 3-0 thrashing away to Almeria. Granada are on a terrible run of form that sees them lie second from bottom. They have scored three goals in their last five matches, while conceding a mammoth sixteen times. Sevilla have won the last six meetings between the sides and are tipped to make it seven in a row.
Villarreal are winless in their last six La Liga matches but should get back to winning ways on Sunday when they host relegation bound Cordoba. The newly promoted side lie bottom of the table, nine points away from safety. Villarreal’s excellent home record has been tarnished after losing their last two matches at Estadio El Madrigal. However, Cordoba have won just two away games all season, losing nine of their fifteen travels. These sides have met five times with the Yellow Submarines winning all five meetings. The home win is tipped confidently.
Celta Vigo 11/10
Teenage striker Santi Mina scored four goals as Celta Vigo ran riot against Rayo Vallecano, hammering the Madrid side 6-1 at home. They are on the road this weekend where they will travel to a team who find themselves just three points above the relegation zone after losing six of their last eight matches. Celta Vigo are favourites to build on their excellent victory but the stats point to Eibar. Celta Vigo have struggled on the road, winning just four of their sixteen travels and losing seven times. Eibar have also never lost to Celta Vigo in the teams’ seven prior meetings, with Eibar claiming maximum points six times. The match could go either way so I recommend taking Both Teams To Score at 9/10.
Monday 20 April
Real Sociedad 18/10
Elche moved out of the relegation zone with a well earned 2-0 away win over Cordoba. They will be looking to improve on their poor home record against visiting Real Sociedad. Sociedad have just one away win to their name all season where they have scraped up only ten goals in fifteen travels. They are coming off a disappointing 2-2 home draw against Deportivo. This fixture was drawn 1-1 last season but Elche should be able to draw some confidence from last week’s victory and claim another three points.