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PREVIEW: Dramatic La Liga week 16 packs heavyweight encounters

The Spanish domestic league returns for a full set of fixtures this weekend – headlined by the massive clash between Atleti and Barcelona – but I think there are other little nuggets we might get to uncover.

EPA/Marta Perez

The Spanish domestic league returns for a full set of fixtures this weekend – headlined by the massive clash between Atleti and Barcelona – but I think there are other little nuggets we might get to uncover.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Friday 6 January 

Elche 26/10 | Draw 23/10 | Celta Vigo 11/10 (19:30) 

There isn’t too much to separate these two teams, I mean if you’re looking purely at their form, they’re both placid and uninspiring. Neither have even a single win to run home about from their last five starts and if there was ever a fixture to scream ‘draw’ this is it!

Valencia 6/10 | Draw 3/1 | Cadiz 48/10 (22:00)

The second of the two fixtures on Friday night sees Valencia welcome Cadiz to Mestalla Stadium and at the risk of sounding a bit too forthright – I think the home win is a banker.

Cadiz sit second from bottom and really hasn’t given any indication so far this season that we should find confidence in them. 6/10 doesn’t really need many plaudits – but I think it will get us through the first leg of our Spanish multiple.

Saturday 7 January 

Villarreal 9/4 | Draw 28/10 | Real Madrid 21/20 (17:15) 

Villarreal come into this game in decent form, especially when playing on their home patch. Real Madrid is locked into an exciting battle at the summit of the La Liga table – they wouldn’t want to drop points here, considering Barcelona have a date later on with Atleti. Nevertheless, I think both teams scoring is the play here, and at 5/10 I’m adding it to our multiple.

Mallorca 1/1 | Draw 47/20 | Valladolid 3/1 (19:30)

It’s a tricky game again, only because neither side have been able to put together a solid run of form. Mallorca have struggled to keep clean sheets, but Real Valladolid have struggled to score goals! I’m edging slightly with the home side, but not to the point where we include this in anything.

Espanyol 13/10 | Draw 47/20 | Girona 43/20 (22:00)

It’s not a fixture that’s going to attract the headlines, but I think it could offer us an opportunity to make the most of an opportunity…Girona are certainly the sort of team who can ask serious questions of Espanyol here and I think it might be closer than many expect. Girona will play with freedom and no inhibitions – but it’s for that exact reason I think they win!

Sunday 8 January

 Almeria 29/10 | Draw 24/10 | Real Sociedad 1/1 (15:00)

At the risk of sounding like an absolute stuck record, this is another tricky fixture. Sociedad have looked slightly off the boil – only insofar as they seem to have so much more to give!

Almeria obviously can win this sort of game – but their inconsistency doesn’t give me the confidence required. I can’t split them, so I’ll go for the draw.

 Rayo Vallecano 5/4 | Draw 9/4 | Real Betis 47/20 (17:15)

 I like the approach Vallecano have seemingly inhabited more recently. They play expansive, attacking and unapologetic football wherever and against whoever! No, it doesn’t always land for them, but you know they are going to give everything going forward.

Betis might be caught a little on the back foot, and once the home faithful get involved, Estadio de Vallecas becomes a tough place to play in. I’m all over the home win.

 Sevilla 15/20 | Draw 51/20 | Getafe 4/1 (19:30)

Sevilla is a banker here. They are unbeaten in all competition, last tasting defeat in November. They are scoring for fun and look full value to get their 2023 off to a flyer. Granted, you didn’t need me to find this pick, and I don’t expect any plaudits, so I’ll stop there. Get on the home win.

 Atletico Madrid 43/20 | Draw 49/20 | Barcelona 13/10 (22:00)

Obviously, this is the game of the weekend! Now, on paper, and in conjunction with everything happening at Atletico Madrid, Barcelona looks to be the pick. They have found their feet again, playing the sort of football so often associated with the team and garnering the attention of global football audience.

However, in Atletico Madrid we have a team who (together with Diego Simeone) is renowned for embracing the idea of ‘us against them’. If ever that maxim was applicable, it certainly is now given the sort of media coverage Atleti are receiving. I’m going to go for the home Win/Draw Double Chance at 11/20.

Monday 9 January 

7/10 Athletic Bilbao | Draw 26/10 | Osasuna 42/10 (22:00)

Osasuna have put their hand in the air and claimed the role for inconsistency – a running thread in this article. Away from home, they haven’t always looked too comfortable, but for me the worry is failing to impose yourself in the centre of the field.

Bilbao are on an incredible run now, they are scoring for fun and simultaneously keeping clean sheets. It’s every team’s magic mix, isn’t it? I think at 7/10 they are an easy bet.


TREBLE @ 37/10

Valencia Win 6/10

Sevilla Win 15/20

Bilbao Win 7/10

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