Spanish La Liga: Week 16 Preview

Our soccer analyst previews the Spanish La Liga week 16 action which kicks off on Friday 14 December 2018.

Barcelona moved three points clear at the top of La Liga after Lionel Messi scored two brilliant free-kicks in an impressive 4-0 win against their crosstown rivals Espanyol. Sevilla thought they had picked up all three points at the Mestalla, but Los Che hit a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time.

Atletico Madrid thrashed Alaves 3-0, while Real Madrid needed one goal to edge past bottom-of-the-table Huesca. Two rounds to go before the Christmas break so let’s get into it.

Standings provided by Sofascore LiveScore

Friday 14 December

Celta Vigo 17/20
Draw 49/20
Leganes 33/10
The confidence boost against Huesca was what Celta Vigo needed. The Sky Blues carried that momentum when they visited Villarreal, where they were 3-0 up within 50 minutes. The Colombian international, Carlos Bacca, scored two late goals for the men in yellow to keep the score respectable.

That was the Celtics second away win of the season and it is at home where they are most dangerous. Leganes are unbeaten in their last seven matches with three wins and four draws. Despite that impressive run, I fancy the hosts to pick up maximum points at home. Get on Celta Vigo at 17/20.

Saturday 15 December

Getafe 12/10
Draw 2/1
Real Sociedad 26/10
Real Sociedad are the second best travellers in the league and they take on a rejuvenated Getafe outfit in a potentially tight contest to kick-start the Saturday fixtures. The hosts were denied three points at Leganes last weekend after Leandro Cabrera’s first-half goal was canceled 25 minutes from time.

Real Sociedad, on the other hand, were left heartbroken when they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Real Valladolid. However, their away record has to be mentioned after they have picked up 13 points on the road, one behind Barcelona. This is a tricky encounter so back these sides to cancel each other out.

Real Valladolid 9/2
Draw 23/10
Atletico Madrid 15/20
The Estadio Jose Zorrilla hosts Atletico Madrid in this exciting fixture in the Spanish league. Both teams come into this game from impressive wins in round 15. Weirdly, the home team has been better on the road than they have been on their grounds.

On the other hand, Atletico Madrid have won just once on the road this season. This is a game that can go either way, but because of quality, I’ll back the favourites to claim maximum points. Get on Atletico Madrid to narrowly win this one.

Real Madrid 1/7
Draw 15/2
Rayo Vallecano 14/1
Real Madrid traveled to Huesca last weekend which I think is the worst possibly team in the league. In this round, they welcome the second worst team in the division. Los Blancos haven’t been convincing this season and to be honest, they have not been what we expect from them. A Real Madrid team should embarrass a club like Huesca or even Vallecano regardless of the venue.

Strange things have happened in this ground this season with teams like Levante walking home with maximum points. Madrid occupies fourth spot in the table after registering 26 points from their 15 matches. They won eight games, drew two and lost five. It’s hard to trust this Real Madrid team so I suggest backing them to win at Half-time at 4/10.

Eibar 39/20
Draw 43/20
Valencia 29/20
The pick of round 15 action saw Eibar and Levante share the spoils in a spectacular 4-4 draw at Ipurua Municipal on Saturday. Valencia travels to Eibar in this La Liga fixture. The visitors played their last UEFA Champions League game this season when hosting Manchester United in midweek and in the league they are uncomfortably placed in 15th, while Eibar occupy the 14th spot.

As of now, Valencia will miss out in Europe next season unless things change heavily in the second half of the campaign. A cagey contest on the cards so back these sides to share the spoils.



Sunday 16 December

Sevilla 5/10
Draw 34/10
Girona 52/10
Sevilla are second of the log, but they sit at home in not so good spirits after picking up two consecutive 1-1 draws. The points dropped in recent weeks have allowed Barcelona to go three points clear at the top. Los Rojiblancos have won five of their seven matches played at home, including wins in their last four league games.

Girona, on the other hand, have been blowing hot and cold. The Catalan club remains the only team unbeaten on the road this season with three wins and three draws. Back Sevilla to end that away unbeaten record.

Espanyol 12/10
Draw 23/10
Real Betis 47/20
Espanyol started the current campaign brightly, but their fans have little to hope for after a major slump in recent weeks. The Blanquiazules are on a four-match losing streak, including a 3-1 defeat to neighbours Girona at the RCDE Stadium two weeks ago, putting an end to their five-match winning start at home.

That followed with another home defeat to fellow neighbours, Barcelona, who thrashed them 4-0 to ensure four consecutive league defeats. Real Betis will be looking to make it five wins on the bounce and move closer to Europa qualification zone. Back the in-form Real Betis to claim maximum points.

Huesca 23/10
Draw 49/20
Villarreal 23/20
Both Huesca and Villarreal have been struggling badly coming into Sunday’s clash at the Estadio El Alcoraz. Defending is a major worry for the hosts, as Francisco’s men have conceded 30 goals so far. Villarreal are in a somewhat better position being seven points ahead of their opponents who are rooted at the foot of the table with one win after 15 rounds.

The Yellow Submarine sacked their head coach last Monday after their poor run of form. It’s difficult to trust either team on current form and I’m not expecting too many goals here. Back Under 2.5 Goals at 9/10.

Levante 17/2
Draw 11/2
Barcelona 1/4
Paco Lopez has indeed managed to turn a corner for Levante since the Frogs are enjoying a spectacular run of form under his guidance. The team have won six league games this season and they sit at a comfortable sixth place on the log with 22 points, nine points behind their opponents. Barcelona were looking to make history last season and be the first team to win the La Liga unbeaten but on the second to last game, they fell short on this ground.

Revenge will be on the Blaguarana’s mind come Sunday. A win here will ensure Barcelona are top of the table when they head into the Christmas break. Barcelona were shocked here last season but I’m expecting them to win comfortably this time.

Monday 17 December

Deportivo Alaves 17/10
Draw 21/10
Athletic Bilbao 7/4
Deportivo Alaves look to extend their unbeaten run at home when they welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Estadio Mendizorroza in a Monday night fixture. The visitors sacked their head coach, Eduardo Berizzo, after a poor start to the season. Gaizka Garitano was then appointed as the new man-in-charge and his impact was immediate, beating Huesca 4-0 in the Copa del Rey and he won his first league game against Girona.

Fireworks are expected in this encounter as Alaves aims for the European spots, and Bilbao targets an escape from the relegation zone. Because of the impressive record at home, I’ll lean towards Alaves here.

TREBLE @ 6/1
Deportivo Alaves Win 17/10
Sevilla Win 5/10
Celta Vigo Win 17/20

Written by Banele Pikwa

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