Our football writer previews matchday 23 of the 2016/17 Spanish La Liga campaign.
It was wins all round for the top five teams in La Liga last weekend. Villarreal were the only side from the teams fighting for European spots not to pick up maximum points after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Malaga. It was same old, same old for Spain’s big guns, though. League-leaders, Real Madrid, travelled to the El Sadar Stadium to take on Osasuna where they claimed an emphatic 3-1 victory.
Barcelona showed what they’re all about when in the mood, recording a 6-0 victory away to Alaves. Third-placed Sevilla inflicted Las Palmas’ first home defeat of the season with a 1-0 victory to keep up the pressure at the summit, while Atletico Madrid left it late to beat Celta Vigo 3-2 at the Vicente Calderon. This weekend should produce more fireworks with the top four sides facing favourable fixtures, which could see some high scores come into play.
Friday 17 February
Granada 18/10 | Draw 43/20 | Real Betis 15/10
Granada come into this game off an embarrassing 4-0 defeat away to Eibar on Monday night. Granada are five points off survival, but things are not looking good for Lucas Alcaraz’s side. Real Betis drew their third consecutive La Liga matchup to remain in 13th spot.
Betis have been poor in front of goal, especially on their travels where they have scored just eight in nine matches. The sides shared the spoils in a 2-2 stalemate earlier in the season, but I can assure you, we won’t be seeing another four-goal thriller. Under 2.5 Goals seems the way to go at 7/10.
Saturday 18 February
Sporting Gijon 11/2 | Draw 29/10 | Atletico Madrid 5/10
Sporting Gijon ended a run of seven games without a victory to give their survival hopes a boost as they moved within two points off 17th-placed Leganes. Up next for Gijon is Atletico Madrid who have found their feet in recent weeks, riding a seven-match unbeaten streak in La Liga.
Goals from Yannick Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann in the last four minutes proved decisive as Atleti came from a goal down to win 3-2 against Celta Vigo. Atletico haven’t been too great away from the Calderon, but with the title race reaching its peak, they should pull their socks up with a much-needed win. At 5/10, Diego Simeone’s side are surely worth backing!
Real Madrid 2/11 | Draw 6/1 | Espanyol 12/1
High-flying Real Madrid picked up their 15th win of the campaign with a 3-1 win away at Osasuna. Los Blancos lead the standings by a point, having two games in hand over their rivals. Espanyol dropped down to ninth in the table, losing 2-1 at home to Real Sociedad.
Quique Sanchez Flores’ men ended their run of three successive victories with that loss. And if Real Madrid are in the mood, it could go from bad to worse for Espanyol. Cristiano Ronaldo netted his 14th goal of the season last weekend and will be ready to add to his prolific tally. Madrid to Score In Both Halves is tipped at 11/20.
Deportivo 19/20 | Draw 9/4 | Alaves 3/1
Deportivo slipped down to 16th spot after their 2-1 away defeat at Athletic Bilbao last weekend. It’s now back-to-back defeats for Depor, with Gaizka Garitano’s side failing to win in five consecutive La Liga matches. Alaves suffered their first defeat in four games, and what a loss it was.
The Babazorros lost 6-0 at home to a rampant Barcelona side. Both teams will be looking to return to winning ways, but after such demoralising defeats, confidence could be low in both camps. For that reason, instead of picking a winner in this match, back the Under 2.5 Goals market at 11/20.
Sevilla 5/10 | Draw 33/10 | Eibar 47/10
Sevilla kept up the pressure at the top of the pile with a well-deserved 1-0 victory away to Las Palmas last weekend. Eibar recorded an emphatic 4-0 victory over relegation strugglers, Granada, on Monday night to move up to eighth in the table. Eibar’s away form doesn’t bode too well for their chances here.
Jose Luis Mendilibar’s men have won three of their 10 away clashes, losing four times in the process. Sevilla have been a class above at home, winning eight of their 10 games at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium. At 5/10, Jorge Sampaoli’s men should come out on top and are to be included in all multiples.
Sunday 19 February
Real Sociedad 9/10 | Draw 24/10 | Villarreal 31/10
Real Sociedad picked up their sixth win in eight matches as they fought for a hard-earned 2-1 victory away to Espanyol last Friday. Villarreal were one of the disappointments of the weekend as they failed to capitalize on Malaga’s poor away form, drawing 1-1 at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
The Yellow Submarine have now won just once in their last six matches. The last tie between the two sides ended in Villarreal’s favour with a 2-1 win. This time around, La Real are well-prepared and should have their turn for revenge. Get on the home Win & Over 2.5 Goals at 31/20.
Valencia 5/4 | Draw 9/4 | Athletic Bilbao 43/20
Valencia moved up by one spot to 15th in the table after their commendable 0-0 draw at Real Betis last weekend. The Bats have failed to score in two La Liga matches now and are winless in three.
Athletic Bilbao did well to keep up the pressure for the European spots, claiming a 2-1 victory over Deportivo last weekend. That was the same scoreline they beat Valencia with last time out and they’ll be hoping for the same, if not similar result. Bilbao have only won two of their 10 away games, while Valencia have won just two of their nine home matches. These sides are tipped to share the spoils at 9/4.
Celta Vigo 11/20 | Draw 31/10 | Osasuna 9/2
Celta Vigo were thwarted late in the game last weekend as they slipped to a 3-2 defeat away to Atletico Madrid. Celta have the perfect opportunity to regain their confidence with a clash against bottom-placed Osasuna. Petar Vasiljevic’s side have won just once in 22 matches in La Liga this season.
Osasuna have also conceded 49 goals – more than any other side in the division. Celta Vigo were held to a goalless draw the last time these sides met, but that won’t be the case this time. Get on the home win and include in all multiples!
Barcelona 1/11 | Draw 8/1 | Leganes 23/1
Barcelona showed that they won’t give up the title just yet by recording a huge 6-0 victory over newly-promoted Alaves last weekend. Barcelona have netted 61 goals in La Liga – the most in the division and second most across Europe’s top five league.
Leganes have failed to win in 10 matchups and have suffered three consecutive defeats in the league. A trip to the Camp Nou has come at the worst possible time for Lega. The last tie ended in a 5-1 victory for Barca, and this game should be no different. Take Over 3.5 Goals at 15/20.
Monday 20 February
Malaga 19/20 | Draw 24/10 | Las Palmas 28/10
Malaga return to La Rosaleda Stadium with their heads held up high after claiming an emphatic 1-1 draw at Villarreal last weekend. Las Palmas suffered their first home defeat of the campaign, losing 1-0 against Sevilla.
The Yellows have won just one of their 10 away matches, while Malaga boast a fairly decent home record, winning five and drawing two of their 10 games. The reverse fixture ended in a 1-0 win for Las Palmas, but I’m expecting a turnaround for Malaga. Back the hosts at even money.
TREBLE @ 3/1
Sevilla Win 5/10
Celta Vigo Win 11/20
Barcelona vs Leganes Over 3.5 Goals 15/20
Written by JesseNagel @Hollywoodbets