Real Madrid and Barcelona continue with their merry-go-round battle at the top of the standings as the two big guns kicked away from third-placed Atletico Madrid who were beaten by Eibar.
Fourth-placed Sevilla also lost meaning the title race is now between Barca and Los Blancos as usual. Elsewhere, Espanyol have turned things around and they are starting to pick up points. There are some interesting fixtures to look forward to this weekend. Let’s get straight into it…
Photo Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Friday 24 January
Both teams are placed in the middle of the league table, with one point separating the two sides between 12th and 13th. Osasuna have worked really hard this season and they are a side that’s serious about staying at the top. So far so good for Jagoba Arrasate’s men who are nine points clear of the red zone.
Levante were left disappointed last week when suffering a home defeat to Alaves which was their second successive lose. Osasuna have collected 14 points at home from the 10 matches played. Osasuna are strong at their turf, especially against lesser teams, so back the hosts to claim maximum points.
Saturday 25 January
Athletic Bilbao 2/1
After the dreadful start to their campaign, Espanyol are slowly making a return back to their winning ways. Coupled with the home advantage, they are going to be a real threat this Saturday. In the last six matches, the hosts have won three, lost one and drew two – including the 2-2 draw against leaders Barcelona.
Athletic Bilbao have drawn each of their last three league matches including last week’s disappointing 1-1 home draw to strugglers Celta Vigo. Back Espanyol on a Win/Draw Double Chance at 7/20.
Barcelona are without a doubt the last team that any side would want to face, be it on the road or at home. Since the fantastic win at Ajax in the UEFA Champions League, Valencia have been very disappointing, drawing and losing two from their last five including last weekend’s 4-1 thumping at Mallorca.
Barcelona parted ways with Ernesto Valverde after a series of poor results in cup competitions and former Real Betis coach, Quique Setien was appointed. Setien kicked off his Barca reign with a 1-0 victory against Granada. Back Barcelona to continue winning under new management.
Alaves picked up an all-important win on the road last weekend when beating Levante 1-0. The win saw the hosts kick away from the relegation zone to allow themselves to have some breathing space without any pressure. Villarreal, on the other hand, were very disappointing, losing to rock-bottom Espanyol at home to end their five-match winning streak. Get on Alaves to win this one.
Sevilla will be overwhelming favorites to beat Granada at home, especially after dropping points last weekend. Julen Lopetegui’s men can’t afford any more slip-ups after dropping five from the last possible six. Granada have done exceptionally well this season and their good work see them in the top half which for me is overachieving. Back Sevilla to return to winning ways.
Sunday 26 January
Atletico Madrid 4/10
Atletico Madrid’s title hopes have been dented with a big blow after suffering yet another defeat which now leaves them eight points behind the top two. Any more slip-ups might see Diego Simeone’s men outside the top four. Leganes were thrashed 3-0 at home by Getafe last Friday and will be desperate to bounce back from that defeat. Prior to that loss, the visitors were unbeaten in six encounters. Atletico Madrid have to win this game.
Celta Vigo 1/1
Celta Vigo and Eibar were pleased with their results last weekend. Celta forced their second successive draw at Bilbao and Eibar beat title-chasing Atletico Madrid 2-0 which is enough evidence for us to expect fireworks in this match up. The visitors will be looking for their third consecutive against the hosts. Back these sides to cancel each other out.
Real Betis 28/10
Getafe are closing the gap on that top-four spot, they are now two points Sevilla and Atletico Madrid who are level on 35 points. Both these sides are fresh from 3-0 wins beating Leganes and Real Sociedad though Getafe’s win came on the road. The hosts missed out on top four last season by two points and they are well aware that they have to win such games to stand a chance especially with the other teams dropping points. Get on Getafe to win this one.
Real Sociedad 4/10
Real Sociedad were humbled 3-0 at Real Betis last Sunday and this is a perfect opportunity to return to winning ways. Mallorca will be confident after thrashing Valencia 4-1 last time out. However, the visitors have the worst away form in the league losing eight of their nine travels. Real Sociedad should win at home.
Real Madrid 9/20
We wrap up the round with a tricky tie as in-form Valladolid host title-chasing Real Madrid. The hosts are unbeaten in seven matches losing one from their last nine. On the other hand, Real Madrid have won each of their last four matches including the Super Cup triumph. Back Zidane’s men to come out tops here on a Win & Both Teams to Score at 18/10.
DOUBLE @ 7/1
Alaves Win 19/10
Real Madrid Win & BTTS 18/10