Girona v Cádiz
The form book will tell you that Girona come into this game with three defeats in a row and that Cádiz haven’t lost any of their past three, but there’s a lot more to the story than that. Girona have had some tough opponents in Real Betis, Real Sociedad and Atlético Madrid yet they gave each of them a scare, losing 2-1 at Betis, 5-3 at home to La Real and 2-1 at Atleti. Cádiz, meanwhile, won 1-0 at Real Valladolid before a 0-0 draw with Villarreal and 2-2 draw with Espanyol. But, Cádiz still haven’t played well and have lost the xG count in every single one of their eight matches so far.
Girona have had negative results when they’ve played the better teams, even if they’ve still been able to score goals, but they have been good at picking up points when they’re supposed to against their relegation rivals. Their seven points so far this season have come from home victories over Getafe and Real Valladolid and a draw away at Real Mallorca. Looking at how those games developed, Girona thrived when they were able to take the initiative, as will likely be the case when defence-first Cádiz make the 1,000km trip across the country for this Saturday’s game.
Girona also have players returning from injury. After having had the longest medical report in LaLiga just a few weeks back, they now have just three absentees and only that of Reinier Jesus is really significant. The excellent form of Rodrigo Riquelme, the young talent on loan from Atlético Madrid, should help Girona forget about Reinier, and he is priced at 3.60 to be an anytime goal scorer. Against weak opposition in Cádiz, he and his teammates have a great opportunity for another three-point haul this Saturday.
Valencia v Elche
Valencia are huge favourites for their Saturday afternoon game against Elche and for good reason. Not only has Gennaro Gattuso got his team looking better with each passing week, with Edinson Cavani linking up really well in attack with Justin Kluivert and Samuel Lino in last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Osasuna, but Valencia have been strong at home this season. They’ve won three and lost one at Mestalla, with that loss being a narrow 1-0 reverse against Atlético Madrid in which Valencia were arguably the better team.
But, the fact Valencia are big favourites also says a lot about Elche. They’re bottom of the league and rightly so, with just four goals scored and 19 goals conceded. That goal against record is the poorest in the division and it could have been even worse, since their also-worst-in-the-division xG against number is 22.13.
With Elche performing so poorly, they sacked Francisco as coach and then drew 1-1 against Real Mallorca under caretaker Alberto Gallego. But, now they’ve hired a new permanent boss and the appointment is not promising, as they club have rehired former boss Jorge Almirón. The Argentine was previously in charge of Elche in 2020/21 and his LaLiga record was three wins, nine draws and nine defeats in 21 games, earning him the sack.
So, why would Elche rehire Almirón two years later in this hour of need? Well, the majority shareholder Christian Bragarnik also just happens to be Almirón’s agent. Elche fans are furious and worried, and quite rightly. This Saturday’s game, for which Elche’s main striker Lucas Boyé is also suspended, could be the start of a slow and painful road towards relegation, for which the current price is just 1.20.
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