Real Valladolid v Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad are in historic form coming into Matchday 11, having won eight matches in a row across all competitions. They hadn’t done that in 56 years, so this is a really impressive feat for La Real and they show no signs of slowing down. Next up is an away game, but newly promoted Real Valladolid are certainly a beatable opponent.
Even though Real Valladolid won 4-1 against Celta Vigo in midweek, that was an exaggerated scoreline. They were good, but not three goals better and it’s also worth keeping in mind how poor Celta Vigo’s form is right now. Real Sociedad will be a much tougher prospect, especially as the Basque side are playing well in every single position right now.
It was interesting to see Real Valladolid switch to a deep 5-3-2 formation for their midweek win over Celta Vigo and they may keep that up on Saturday. If they do put up a deep defensive wall, that might make the prospect of a draw more likely. But, Real Sociedad should have enough to overcome it. They’ve been just as good away from home this season as they have been in front of their own fans, winning six of seven away games so far.
Real Madrid v Sevilla
Real Madrid’s attack will be licking their lips going into this game at home to Sevilla. Although Sevilla have mildly improved under new coach Jorge Sampaoli, they’re still giving up a lot of chances at the back and that should be the case once again as they travel to the Bernabéu with three of their four centre-backs absent. Tanguy Nianzou and Karim Rekik are both injured and Kike Salas is suspended, while Marcão won’t be 100 percent, even if he is expected to return from an injury of his own.
So, there should be holes at the back for Real Madrid’s attackers to exploit. With Karim Benzema, Fede Valverde, Rodrygo and Vinícius all in such good form, they should certainly do that. All four of them started against Elche in midweek and they won 3-0, while also scoring three goals that were each marginally ruled out for offside.
It could be a big night at the Bernabéu for Real Madrid, close to a sell-out as fans look to catch a glimpse of Benzema’s pre-match Ballon d’Or ceremony. This is a fixture Real Madrid have historically done very well in, winning 14 of their past 15 home games against Sevilla. At the Bernabéu, it’s actually 14 wins from the past 14 against Sevilla, as the one draw from the past 15 came during the behind-closed-doors coronavirus year when they played at the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano.
Espanyol v Elche
Espanyol face off against Elche in the first of Sunday’s games and there could be plenty of goals. These are the fourth and fifth teams in the division for the most total goals in their matches, with Elche’s matches so far producing 3.00 goals per game and Espanyol’s 2.90 per game.
Those stats go up even more when you look at Espanyol’s home games, as there have been 3.20 goals per game at the RCDE Stadium this year, and Elche’s away games, as they’ve seen 3.40 total goals per game on their travels this year.
Most of these goals, it has to be said, have been against these teams. Especially against Elche, who have let in a league high 24 goals and who don’t look any better defensively under new coach Jorge Almirón, conceding five goals in two games under the new boss and it could have been more had Real Madrid not had three offside goals ruled out in their meeting on Wednesday night. With Elche still vulnerable at the back, LaLiga’s second-top scorer Joselu will look to add to his personal tally of seven goals so far.
Elche can certainly score too, especially since Espanyol’s weakest position this season has been goalkeeper. They still don’t really know whether to go with Benjamin Lecomte or Álvaro Fernández, basically because both have been equally terrible so far.
Girona v Osasuna
The Estadi Montilivi has seen 3.6 goals per game on average this season and Girona and Osasuna could be set to give us another thriller on Sunday evening. Both teams were in action on Thursday and so will be raring to go 72 hours later as they meet in Catalonia.
80% of Girona’s matches this season have seen both teams score, including the last seven matches in a row, which is a LaLiga high. That is only behind Fulham, Lille and Troyes in all of Europe’s top five leagues. They are, in fact, the only side outside the top eight to have averaged more than 1.2 goals scored this season.
Osasuna’s record is less frequent, but there is plenty of potential for them to get themselves on the scoresheet. Their actual performance is 8.6 xG lower than the number of goals scored in matches involving Osasuna this season, and up against Girona they may be more confident of outsourcing their xG, while also being tested by Taty Castellanos, Cristhian Stuani and Rodrigo Riquelme.
Another important factor that could give Osasuna a greater chance of scoring is that Jagoba Arrasate made seven changes to his line-up in midweek. That has given rest to several players who could prove decisive, even if they face a challenge in denying Girona from scoring for the first time since August.
Villarreal v Almería
Home team Villarreal will be desperate to make up for a disappointing start to the season, one which sees them rank only four places above newly-promoted Almería in mid-table after 10 games, when the two teams meet at the Estadi Ciutat de València on Sunday evening.
Villarreal may have been on the end of a 3-0 thrashing at Camp Nou on Thursday night, but back on more familiar turf they should be more confident of picking up the three points. The Yellow Submarine’s form has been inconsistent, but that has primarily come from picking up only two points from a possible 12 in their last four games. At home, they’ve taken seven points from a possible nine, and have also won both of their home Conference League fixtures.
What’s more, Unai Emery’s team have been incredibly convincing in their wins. In fact, they have averaged four goals per game scored across their home games this season, with only 1.2 goals conceded per game.
They will now face an Almería side who come into the game after racing to a 3-0 lead over Girona to eventually win 3-2. The Andalusian team are yet to keep a clean sheet since their return to LaLiga in the summer and a visit to free-scoring Villarreal will seem a daunting prospect. Their poor defensive record could mean a rout for Villarreal may be on the cards.
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