|Real Madrid players (Image copyright – Steve Haag Sports)|
The Spanish La Liga returns to our screens this weekend after teams were involved in different cup competitions this past weekend. Real Madrid were crowned the Spanish Super Cup champions on Sunday evening after beating their neighbours Atletico Madrid on penalties. With their first trophy of the season now in the bag for Zinedine Zidane’s men, they will be hungrier for more success and the league is still in their hands as Los Blancos are tied on 40 points with Barcelona.
Let’s see what gameweek 20 has instore for us.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Friday 17 January
Getafe have lost their last three games in a row, and they need this win at any cost if they are to push for top four. Prior to the defeats, the visitors had won six games on the bounce but the hiccup has seen them drift to seventh place five points off fourth-placed Sevilla. Leganes were competing with Espanyol at the bottom of the table as to who is the worst team this season.
The hosts sacked their coach Mauricio Pellegrino and hired former Mexico boss Javier Aguirre. Things have changed completely since Aguirre’s arrival, winning four and drawing two of their last six games in all competitions. Back Leganes to continue with their impressive form by taking them to Win & Both Teams to Score at a valuable 7/1.
Saturday 18 January
Alaves have found themselves miserably just five spots away from the red zone after a terrible run of form, losing four and drawing two from their last six matches. With Levante finally on a convincing run of form, the hosts are likely to be the ones that walk away victorious here and close the gap on the Europa League fighting teams. Get on Levante to win this match.
Real Madrid 6/10
Arguably the most awaited clash this weekend, Real Madrid have their eyes set on depriving Sevilla of all three points for the second time this season. It’s raining blessings for Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane at the moment.
Madrid are unbeaten in their last 16 matches winning 11 and drawing five including a Super Cup win last Sunday which should be a morale-boosting trophy. The home fans will be excited to see Julen Lopetegui back at the Bernabeu and nothing sweeter than beating your former manager straight after winning a cup. Back Real Madrid on the (-1) Handicap at 14/10.
Osasuna have been a confident bunch at the El Sadar Stadium, and 13 points from the 24 were collected in front of their home crowd. After losing just twice at home against Real Socieded and Athletic Bilbao, the home fans have every right to be bullish in this fixture.
In all honesty, Valladolid have been pretty decent against smaller teams and that makes this match tricky. The visitors are three points behind their opponents and walking away with a point here would be a massive achievement as they look to steer clear of the red zone. Back these sides to cancel each other out.
Atletico Madrid 17/20
We round off the Saturday fixtures with title-chasing Atletico Madrid visiting a relegation fighting Eibar at the Municipal de Ipurua. Madrid were left disappointed once again after losing the Super Cup final to Real Madrid which now makes this game a must-win if they are to get silverware this season.
Atletico cannot afford anymore slip-ups as they are five points behind the two big guns. Eibar almost caused an upset when these sides last met at the Wanda Metropolitano where Eibar were 2-0 up inside the first 20 minutes but eventually bottled the game and lost 3-2. Get on Atletico Madrid to win this game and close the gap.
Sunday 19 January
Mallorca have been on the road in the past two games losing to Granada in the league and winning against Zamora in the Copa del Rey. This weekend, they return to the Estadio de Son Moix where they have enjoyed success, winning four and drawing two of their 10 matches played at home.
Valencia are in fine form and the Bats will be a difficult nut to crack. Prior to the Super Cup defeat, Valencia had won four of their last six matches including the UEFA Champions League win at Ajax. Take the Away/Draw Double Chance and Both Teams to Score at 12/10.
Real Betis 29/20
Real Sociedad 17/10
Real Betis have been inconsistent this season and that has seen them collect only 24 points from the 19 games played. The hosts are winless in the last three league matches drawing two and losing the other. This is a must-win encounter for Real Sociedad as they look to get top-four finish for the first time.
The visitors are currently fifth on the standings, four points behind Sevilla who travel to the Bernabeu to face Real Madrid, so this could be a perfect opportunity for Sociedad to close the gap. Back the visitors on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 5/10.
In-form Villarreal welcome the worst team in La Liga at the moment. The hosts are flying high and their record is there for all to see, the Yellow Submarine have won each of their last five matches including the last three league wins.
Espanyol’s involvement in the Europa League has cost them big time this season as they are rooted at the foot of the table with just two wins from 19 matches. However, their surprise 2-2 draw against Barcelona and the 2-0 win the Copa del Rey will give them confidence ahead of this fixture. Back Villarreal to win at 7/10.
Athletic Bilbao 8/10
Celta Vigo 36/10
Athletic Bilbao have been fantastic at home this season and they have been able to make home advantage count. The hosts have won six and drawn two, losing just once at the San Mames this season.
On the other hand, Celta Vigo have been horrible on the road losing six from their nine travels and winning just once. The plan is clear for Bilbao, they want to play in Europe next season and that can be reached if they win such matches. Get on the hosts to win this match convincingly.
We wrap up round 22 with log leaders Barcelona playing hosts to Granada in a must-win game for under-fire coach Ernesto Valverde after losing to Atletico Madrid at home in the Super Cup semi-finals. Barcelona have been far from their best, winning just once in the last five games and failure to win here could result in Valverde getting sacked.
Granada beat Barcelona 2-0 in the first leg and they will be looking to make it back-to-back wins for the first time ever against the Catalan giants. Despite the bad form, Barca should still win this match convincingly. Back the hosts to Win Both Halves at 11/10.
TREBLE @ 9/1
Real Madrid (-1) Handicap 14/10
Valencia Win/Draw & BTTS 12/10
Athletic Bilbao Win 8/10