Our football writer previews the Spanish La Liga Week Three action which kicks off on Friday 31 August 2018.
We’re heading into the third round of La Liga action and things have already taken shape. VAR was again the talk of the weekend after it denied Keko of Real Valladolid a stoppage-time equaliser against Barcelona. Elsewhere, Karim Benzema scored a brace as Real Madrid thrashed Girona 4-1. Can Julen Lopetegui and his Real Madrid side make it three wins in a row?
Friday 31 August
Real Valladolid 9/2
We start off gameweek three like how we started the previous round, a Friday night game at Coliseum Alfonso Perez in Getafe. The hosts won their first home game of the season, beating Eibar 2-0. Angel Rodriguez put Getafe in front on the 18th minute and Jorge Molina doubled the advantage in stoppage time.
Real Valladolid lost to defending champions Barcelona but they really fought hard and were unfortunate to be denied a stoppage-time equaliser by VAR. Despite the good performances we’ve seen from Valladolid, I think Getafe are still a better team at home.
Real Sociedad 16/10
Eibar were expected to win their first game of the season against a newly-promoted side like Huesca, but they disappointed and fell to a 2-1 defeat. They were more disappointing at Getafe last Friday when they couldn’t even get one shot on target.
Real Sociedad were left heartbroken at Leganes last week after they gave away a two-goal advantage to draw 2-2. David Zurutuza opened the scoring on the 11th minute and former Real Madrid midfielder, Asier Illarramendi, doubled the lead six minutes later, but Nabil El Zhar’s second-half brace denied Asier Garitano a win on his return to Leganes. Eibar have been dreadful recently so I’ll back Real Sociedad to continue their impressive run at 29/20.
After losing 2-1 at home to Real Sociedad in their season opener, Villarreal were impressive at Sevilla last Sunday as they kept a clean sheet and walked away with a point. Coach Javier Calleja and his men will be confident of getting their first win of the campaign when they welcome strugglers Girona.
The Catalan side will play their first away game, after playing both their games on their turf. Girona were thrashed 4-1 by Real Madrid last Sunday and were disappointing when they played to a goalless draw against newly-promoted Real Valladolid in their season opener. The Gironistes had a good 2017/18 season, but they are amongst the favourites to go down this season. Get on the Villarreal win at 13/20.
Saturday 1 September
Celta Vigo 38/10
Atletico Madrid 15/20
After producing a colourless performance at home to Espanyol on the opening day, Celta Vigo played their game of the season against Levante. The Sky Blues surprised everyone when they shocked in-form Levante on their turf, winning 2-1, courtesy of goals from Pione Sisto and Maxi Gomez. There were some encouraging signs for coach Antonio Mohamed and his team, both offensively and defensively.
Atletico Madrid registered their first La Liga win of the season when they beat minnows Rayo Vallecano 1-0. It was a typical Atletico Madrid performance where they let the opponent enjoy most of the possession without being any threat. Diego Simeone and his men won both their games convincingly against Celta Vigo last season. I’m not expecting a world-class performance from Atleti but they should get the job done at 7/10.
Real Madrid 1/10
Real Madrid are amongst the teams with a 100 percent record and Los Blancos are not showing any signs of missing their star man, Cristiano Ronaldo, after they thrashed Girona 4-1 away from home. Leganes finished 17th for a second time on the trot last season and start the current campaign as one of the favourites to go down after losing their long-time serving coach Asier Garitano. Take Real Madrid to Win Both Halves at 17/20.
Sunday 2 September
Levante got off to a flying start in the 2018/19 La Liga campaign with a 3-0 win at Real Betis. The Frogs were brought down to earth on Monday night when they were totally outplayed by Celta Vigo in the first half. Paco Lopez’s men were 2-0 down at the break, but they were a lot better in the second period, and managed to get a solo goal which saw the match finish 2-1.
Just like the hosts, Valencia also suffered a defeat on matchday two, after they were beaten 2-0 by Espanyol. In both of their meetings last season, these sides managed to find the back of the net when playing each other. As the stats suggest, back Both Teams to Score at 7/10.
Deportivo Alaves 39/20
Alaves were handed a tough trip to Barcelona in their opening game where they suffered a 3-0 defeat. They earned their first point of the season when they played to a goalless draw at home to Real Betis. One thing we’ve seen from Alaves is their solid defence – they are hard to crack and very organised at the back.
It’s still early days, but Espanyol are already showing signs of putting up a fight as they contend for a spot in Europe. Rubi’s men will be oozing with confidence after they were comfortable 2-0 winners against Valencia last Sunday. It’s hard to back against this Espanyol team and I don’t see them losing here, therefore, take the Away/Draw at 4/10.
SD Huesca 28/1
Barcelona played a game on one of the worst pitches you’ll ever see; even defender Gerard Pique called the field a “disgrace” after the match. Even though the pitch was terrible, it didn’t stop the Blaugrana from claiming maximum points. They return to their home ground were they won their first game of the season, thrashing Alaves 3-0.
The fairy-tale continued for debutants Huesca after they were 2-0 down on the 63rd minute, but managed to force a 2-2 draw away to Athletic Bilbao. This is unusual for the newcomers as they play their third away game in a row. The Bookmakers have given Huesca no chance in this match, but Leo Franco’s men have proved that they have what it takes to compete in the top flight. Although the newcomers have been good, back Barcelona to Win by 3 Or More Goals at 5/10.
Real Betis 17/10
We close off gameweek 3 with a Seville derby as Real Betis welcome their neighbours Sevilla. Real Betis were thrashed 3-0 by Levante in their last home game and managed to get a point at Alaves last week. Sevilla head into the derby in much higher spirits compared to their counterparts who have been struggling in recent weeks.
Los Rojiblancos thrashed Rayo Vallecano 4-1 in their first game and they were held to a goalless draw by Villarreal. Pablo Machin’s men will be looking to make seven points before we head off to the international break. Back Sevilla to Win and Both Teams to Score at 26/10.
TREBLE @ 10/1
Sevilla to Win & BTTS 26/10
Getafe Win 7/10
Atletico Madrid Win 15/20
Written by @BanzaRP