The Madrid derby highlights this weekend’s set of La Liga fixtures in what is a must-win game for both sides after failing to claim maximum points last weekend. Real Madrid and Atletico will go into the clash knowing anything other than victory is not enough if they are to maintain their challenge for the title against Barcelona.
The Catalans stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to 32 matches and picked up a seventh straight league win by beating Las Palmas 2-1 last weekend, keeping them eight points clear at the summit. Luis Enrique’s side know that victory is essential in maintaining their league title – especially with at least one of their title contenders to drop points – but they won’t have it easy against in-form Sevilla on Sunday. Another exciting weekend of La Liga awaits and I’m feeling confident with these picks.
FRIDAY 26 FEBRUARY
Eibar 8/10 | Draw 26/10 | Las Palmas 36/10
Eibar suffered a 3-2 defeat away to Celta Vigo last weekend which was their fourth loss in their last five games. The Basques will be hoping to bounce back strongly against relegation-threatened Las Palmas on Friday. Quique Setien’s side have lost five of their last six matches, including three in a row following last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at home to Barcelona. Eibar won the reverse tie 2-0 and are tipped to claim the double on their turf.
SATURDAY 27 FEBRUARY
Real Madrid 17/20 | Draw 26/10 | Atletico Madrid 32/10
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Getafe 2/1 | Draw 22/10 | Celta Vigo 27/20
Getafe are on a five-game losing streak and have shipped 11 goals in that run. Fran Escriba’s side dropped to 14th on the table following last Friday’s 3-0 defeat away to rock-bottom Levante. Getafe will be desperate to turn their form around with only five points separating them from the drop zone. Celta Vigo ended their four-match winless run with a hard-fought 3-2 victory at home to Eibar last weekend. Eduardo Berizzo’s side will be hoping to build on that performance and capitalise on Getafe’s defensive frailties. With the goal threat of Iago Aspas and Nolito, I’m backing Celta to oust their opponents at 27/20.
Sporting Gijon 13/10 | Draw 9/4 | Espanyol 22/10
Sporting Gijon are winless in four matches following their 1-1 draw away to Real Betis last weekend. Despite their struggles to win games, they’ve been difficult to beat, drawing three times in that run with one defeat against Barcelona. Their opponents, Espanyol, come off a hard-fought 1-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna, their first victory in 11 matches. They’re yet to win on the road this season having lost 11 of their 13 travels. I’m going for Gijon to make home advantage count at 13/10.
Real Betis 12/10 | Draw 23/10 | Rayo Vallecano 9/4
Real Betis are unbeaten in three matches with consecutive draws against Deportivo La Coruna and Sporting Gijon. Juan Merino’s side will be hoping for a positive result as they continue their surge up the La Liga table. However, they’ll face a tough test against Rayo Vallecano this weekend. Paco Jemez’s side extended their unbeaten run to six matches after their 2-2 draw at home to Sevilla. They’ve won just once on the road from 12 games this season, losing seven times. A tight affair is expected, but I’m tipping Betis to edge the win at 12/10.
Real Sociedad 5/4 | Draw 22/10 | Malaga 23/10
Real Sociedad extended their four-match winning streak with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao last Sunday. Eusebio Sacristan’s side have looked lethal in attack, scoring 11 goals in those games while the backline has let in just one goal. Their opponents, Malaga, come off a commendable 1-1 draw at home to Real Madrid. However, they’ve won just once in their last four away games, losing twice. The home win is tipped.
SUNDAY 28 FEBRUARY
Villarreal 6/10 | Draw 28/10 | Levante 47/10
Villarreal stretched their unbeaten league run to 12 matches following their goalless draw away to Atletico Madrid last Sunday. They’ve won their last three home games and will target maximum points against bottom-placed Levante. Rubi’s side snapped a three-game losing streak to beat fellow strugglers Getafe 3-0 at home last weekend. However, they’ve lost their last six away matches. The home win is a banker bet at 6/10.
Valencia 5/4 | Draw 9/4 | Athletic Bilbao 23/10
Gary Neville enjoyed a third successive win as Valencia's revival continued. Goals from Dani Parejo and Santi Mina saw Valencia claim a 2-1 away win at Granada in La Liga last Sunday - adding to their 6-0 triumph over Rapid Vienna in the Europa League and last Saturday's 2-1 league victory at home to Espanyol. The latest win saw Valencia secure back-to-back victories in La Liga for the first time since November, easing the pressure on Neville. Their opponents, Athletic Bilbao are winless in three games with consecutive losses against Real Madrid and Real Sociedad. The Lions have lost three of their last four away games and with confidence restored, I’m backing Valencia to win at 5/4.
Deportivo La Coruna 8/10 | Draw 5/2 | Granada 36/10
Deportivo La Coruna are winless in 11 matches and come off a 1-0 loss away to strugglers Espanyol. Victor Sanchez’s side still find themselves in the top half of the table, but they have got to start winning matches having drawn too many times. They have a real chance this weekend as they host a Granada side in disarray. Jose Ramon Sandoval’s side have lost four games in a row and are yet to win on the road this year. They’ve lost their last six away matches, shipping 21 goals while scoring just twice. The home win is tipped confidently. Get on.
Barcelona 1/5 | Draw 62/10 | Sevilla 11/10
Barcelona survived a late onslaught to beat Las Palmas 2-1 and remain in the driving seat at the top of La Liga. The Catalans stretched their unbeaten run to 32 matches in all competitions and picked up a seventh straight league win. Enrique’s side are unbeaten at home with 12 wins from 13 games, scoring 46 goals while conceding just nine times. Unai Emery's Sevilla are unbeaten in 14 matches with 10 wins. Los Rojiblancos are unbeaten in their last three games with Barca and won the reverse tie 2-1 in Seville. Barcelona will be looking to avenge that defeat and with the in-form trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, Sevilla’s backline could struggle to cope at the Camp Nou. Barca have failed to keep a clean sheet in four matches and with Kevin Gameiro in goalscoring form, I’m tipping Barcelona to Win + Both Teams To Score for more value at 21/20.
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