Our footy writer previews matchday 20 of the 2016/17 Spanish La Liga campaign.
Sevilla and Barcelona kept up the pressure on top of the table as they both netted four goals to claim emphatic victories. Leaders, Real Madrid, continued their impressive form to get past a resilient Malaga side, courtesy of a Sergio Ramos double to end the game at 2-1 in favour of Los Blancos.
Their local rivals, Atletico Madrid, slipped out the top four as they shared the spoils against a fierce Athletic Bilbao side. Real Sociedad round up the top four as they get ready to take on Real Madrid in what looks to be the biggest encounter of the weekend.
Friday 27 January
Osasuna 21/10 | Draw 9/4 | Malaga 5/4
Osasuna lost their 12th game of the season as they fell to a 4-3 loss at home to Sevilla. The Reds are now winless in 11 La Liga matches, losing eight of those encounters. Malaga were thwarted at leaders, Real Madrid, last weekend as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu.
This one is very tricky to call. Osasuna are winless at home, while Malaga are still in search of their first away victory. The visitors have lost four consecutive matches, however, I’m backing them to end their poor run with a draw.
Saturday 28 January
Villarreal 7/20 | Draw 37/10 | Granada 15/2
Villarreal lost their second home game of the season as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Valencia. That’s now six matches in all competitions that the Yellow Submarine haven’t picked up a win.
They’ll be looking to turn that form around when they host Granada who are in a relegation dogfight and are yet to pick up their first away win. In fact, Granada have the worst away record in the league, conceding 31 goals on the road. Despite Villarreal’s poor form, they should bounce back with a win here.
Alaves 5/1 | Draw 51/20 | Atletico Madrid 6/10
Alaves recorded their fifth draw in nine home games as they failed to hold onto their lead and concede in the 84th-minute to end the game at 2-2. Atletico Madrid left it late as Antoine Griezmann netted his eighth goal of the campaign to earn his side a point at Athletic Bilbao.
It’s reported that a number of clubs are likely to come in for Griezmann at the end of the season, so the Madrid-based outfit will look to get the best out of the Frenchman before he departs the club. Alaves have won just two of their nine home matches, while Atletico will be fighting for a place back in the top four. Back the visitors to claim maximum points at 6/10.
Eibar 23/20 | Draw 9/4 | Deportivo 5/2
Eibar dropped down to 10th spot in the league after their 4-0 dismantling by a rampant Barcelona side. That was their second consecutive defeat at home after going down to Atletico Madrid a fortnight ago.
Deportivo failed to take advantage of Las Palmas’ red card in the 77th minute as they could only end the match with a single point. Gaizka Garitano’s men have now drawn three consecutive La Liga matches, not to mention that they are winless on the road this campaign. Eibar have won five of their 10 home games, and for that reason, I’m backing them to come out on top here.
Leganes 31/20 | Draw 21/10 | Celta Vigo 19/10
Leganes equalised in the 84th minute against Alaves to end the game at 2-2 and take a point back to their hometown in Madrid. Asier Garitano’s side will need all the points they can get after now going seven league games without a victory.
Celta Vigo lost their fifth match on the road as Real Sociedad proved to be too good for the travelling side. Iago Aspas failed to extend his excellent goalscoring record this season as he drew blank at Anoeta. Leganes have won just one home game, while Celta have picked up one away win. Instead of picking a winner here, back Over 2.5 Goals at 12/10.
Sunday 29 January
Real Betis 19/2 | Draw 52/10 | Barcelona 1/4
Sunday’s action kicks off with Barcelona travelling to the city of Andalusia to take on Real Betis. Barca come off the back of a resounding 4-0 victory away to Eibar, not to mention the fact that they are on the longest unbeaten run in La Liga – 12 games.
Real Betis have struggled for form recently, resulting in Victor Sanchez’s side to win just one of their last five matches across all competitions. A tie against Barca couldn’t have come at a worse time for the hosts, as their surge to get to the top half of the table seems destined to take a turn. Barca to Score In Both Halves is tipped at 7/10.
Espanyol 24/10 | Draw 24/10 | Sevilla 11/10
Espanyol ended their winless drought of three matches without a victory as they humbled Granada to a 3-1 scoreline in front of their home crowd. They’ll be at the RCDE Stadium yet again as they host Sevilla this weekend. Jorge Sampaoli’s side are on a superb run at the moment, winning five consecutive matches in La Liga.
The Sevillistas have silenced all their critics this season and have mounted a serious title challenge. Vicente Iborra completed an unwanted hat-trick as he netted a brace and an own goal. Espanyol climbed up two places to get into the top half, and should prove tough to beat. Sevilla’s away games this season have produced 35 goals; 21 scored and 14 conceded. Back the Totals – Over 2.5 Goals market at 17/20.
Athletic Bilbao 7/20 | Draw 39/10 | Sporting Gijon 8/1
Athletic Bilbao claimed their third draw in as many games as they continued to lose ground on their challenging rivals. On a positive note for Bilbao, they managed to stop Atletico Madrid in their last game, who were in superb form coming into the tie. Sporting Gijon ended their run of four consecutive defeats with a hard-earned goalless draw at Real Betis last weekend.
Gijon managed just one shot on target in that game, but still defended well to leave the pitch with a point. Bilbao have lost just once in 10 home matches, while Gijon are yet to pick up an away win. The home win is a banker at 7/20.
Real Madrid 1/4 | Draw 52/10 | Real Sociedad 17/2
Real Madrid kept their lead at the top of the table with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at home to Malaga last time out. Club captain, Sergio Ramos, led by example to complete his brace and lift his league goal tally up to six – two more than Neymar. Real Sociedad left it until the 72nd minute to break the deadlock through a header from Juanmi. In fact, it was former Real Madrid starlet, Sergio Canales, who assisted the young Spaniard.
Sociedad have shown that they’re capable of an upset on their day and now lie in fourth spot in La Liga. Madrid are a class above their counterparts, but it won’t be as straightforward as many suggest. The home Win & Both Teams to Score is tipped at 8/10.
Monday 30 January
Las Palmas 29/20 | Draw 47/20 | Valencia 18/10
La Liga action in January comes to a close when Las Palmas host Valencia on Monday night. Las Palmas kept their unbeaten home record intact last time out as they drew 1-1 against Deportivo. Valencia, on the other hand, bossed their way past Villarreal away from home to pick up their second consecutive victory. It’s starting to look like as though a successful second part of the season is on the cards for the Bats.
Las Palmas finally find themselves in the bottom half of the table after what was a fairly decent first half of the campaign. The Yellows are unbeaten at their turf, while Valencia have slowly picked up their form. Back the Over 2.5 Goals market at 8/10.
TREBLE @ 4/1
Eibar Win 23/20
Athletic Bilbao Win 7/20
Las Palmas vs Valencia Over 2.5 Goals 8/10
Written by Jesse Nagel @Hollywoodbets