Sevilla v Elche
Friday 11th February – 8:00PM KO
Title challengers Sevilla are in action in the first game of the La Liga Santander weekend, although perhaps they can’t be called title challengers anymore. Three consecutive draws against mid-table opposition have seen Sevilla slip six points behind Real Madrid, making the capital city side the clear favourites to win it all. Only once in the history of Spain’s top division has a team failed to win the title when they’ve led by six or more points at this stage in the season.
More concerning for Sevilla than the maths of the title race is the fact that they next have to take on in-form Elche. Since they hired Francisco as their new manager, Elche have won four, drawn two and lost two of their eight league games.
Although Sevilla are at home this Friday and although they should be considered the favourites, it really seems that Elche’s recent form is being underestimated when you look at the win markets. This is a solid Elche side that can get forward and score goals, so this shouldn’t be an easy game at all for Sevilla, especially as Julen Lopetegui still has the lengthiest absentees list in LaLiga.
There could, therefore, be better value in the score markets, especially with Elche scoring and conceding a lot. Across Francisco’s eight games in charge, Elche have scored 14 and conceded 10, with both teams scoring in six out of these eight games. That includes difficult away trips too, as their visit to the Bernabéu was a 2-2 draw and their visit to the Camp Nou a 3-2 loss. At 2.20 for both teams to score on Friday, there’s great value there.
Prediction: Both Teams to Score, 2.25 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Cádiz vs Celta Vigo
Saturday 12th February – 1:00PM KO
Celta Vigo visit the Andalusia region in the south of Spain once again this weekend, having already enjoyed two positives away results there in 2022 as they beat Real Betis 2-0 and drew 2-2 at Sevilla. Now, they face relegation zone side Cádiz, who haven’t won a home match all season.
Cádiz have improved a little under new coach Sergio González, although results haven’t always followed. He has only had one home game so far, when his Cádiz side so nearly earned a first win of the year at home to Espanyol, but a last-minute equaliser made that a 2-2 draw.
Celta Vigo are a different proposition to Espanyol, though. Celta Vigo visit the worst home team in all of LaLiga Santander as the sixth-best away side in 2021/22, while the Galician outfit are also one of the most in-form sides in Spain at the moment, sitting third on the form table for the past six matches.
There is good value for the Celta Vigo victory in this one, with odds of 2.00, which seems generous considering their recent form, their overall away form and the fact that Celta Vigo don’t have a single injury or suspension right now.
Prediction: Celta Vigo to Win, 2.00 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Villarreal vs Real Madrid
Saturday 12th February – 3:15PM KO
Villarreal vs Real Madrid is arguably the standout game of this weekend in Spanish football, as the league leaders visit the Europa League champions. Both sides are expected to be without their star forward, as Gerard Moreno remains sidelined for Villarreal and Real Madrid aren’t likely to risk Karim Benzema, with PSG away coming up three days after this game. But, there will still be more than enough talent on the pitch for this to be a quality duel.
Villarreal are an odd kind of team when it comes to these big games, as they always make it tough against the top sides but they rarely actually take the three points. Over the past 10 years, Villarreal have hosted Real Madrid nine times at the Estadio de la Cerámica and they’ve only won once, back in 2015. Then, there have been six draws and two Real Madrid victories as well.
Against the other two members of ‘the big three’, victories have been similarly scarce for Villarreal over the past decade, as they’ve won zero out of 10 home games vs Barcelona and three of 10 home games vs Atlético Madrid. And, they’ve not won any home fixture against one of ‘the big three’ since 2017/18.
In summary, this is one of those away fixtures that looks tough on paper for the big sides, but in reality they usually come away from the Estadio de la Cerámica with a positive result. There’s a footballing reason for that, as Villarreal are one of the more ambitious sides in the top flight and will try to attack their opponents, rather than park the bus, meaning they often leave space in behind and can get picked off on the counter. That’s what this Real Madrid team are so good at and that’s what Vinícius – who has odds of 3.3 to be an anytime goalscorer – thrives at.
Prediction: Real Madrid Draw no Bet, 1.91 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Rayo Vallecano vs Osasuna
Saturday 12th February – 5:30PM KO
On Saturday evening, we have Rayo Vallecano vs Osasuna, a clash of two mid-table sides who are just a couple of points apart in the standings. Rayo Vallecano are currently ninth on 31 points, with this weekend’s guests in 12th on 29 points.
For Rayo Vallecano, their focus this past week has not been on this Saturday’s league game. Instead, they were training their attention on Wednesday night’s Copa del Rey semi-final first leg at home to Real Betis, their first semi-final appearance since 1982. That was a huge occasion for the whole neighbourhood of Vallecas, even if they did lose that first leg 2-1.
Now, Rayo Vallecano need to pick themselves up for what will likely be a tough match against the stingy and physical side that is Osasuna. It’s difficult to know what their mindset will be as they take to the pitch following their cup disappointment and it’s difficult to know whether Rayo Vallecano’s third-best-in-the-division home form or Osasuna’s fifth-best-in-the-division away form will prevail.
A better bet, then, would be on under 2.5 goals, as these are two teams with solid defences that don’t score too many themselves. Under 2.5 goals fits with all the relevant metrics involving these teams, namely total match goals over the whole season (Rayo Vallecano are at 2.32 and Osasuna at 2.13), total match goals at home (Rayo Vallecano are at 2.27), total match goals away (Osasuna are at 2.09) and total match goals over the past eight matches (Rayo Vallecano are at 1.75 and Osasuna are at 1.88).
Prediction: Under 2.5 Goals, 1.57 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Atlético Madrid vs Getafe
Saturday 12th February – 8:00PM KO
Since Diego Simeone took over at Atlético Madrid more than a decade ago, he has faced Getafe 20 times and he has won 17, drawn three and lost zero of these meetings. Even more impressively, his Atleti sides didn’t let in a single goal to Getafe in the first 19 of those meetings, before eventually conceding to their capital city neighbours as they won 2-1 away earlier this campaign.
Given that Getafe have been a rough and tough team over the years, essentially an ‘Atleti Light’, it makes sense that their style of football isn’t so effective against a team that plays the same way but with superior quality of player.
Simeone and his coaching staff will hope that this remains true when they host Getafe on Saturday night, given that Atlético Madrid are not what they used to be. Even the fact they conceded a goal to Getafe earlier in the season highlights their struggles, as they’ve had clean sheets in just 27% of their matches this season, down from 47% last year.
Getafe are a decent team too, having improved significantly under former Atleti boss Quique Sánchez Flores. While most of their positive results have come at home, Getafe are getting better on the road too.
This Saturday’s fixture, then, could be a litmus test for Atlético Madrid, to see just how much they’ve truly dropped off compared to previous years. If they can’t even beat Getafe, who have been their punchbag for all these years, then there is truly something wrong. But, maybe a home game against Getafe is exactly what Atleti and Simeone need.
Prediction: Atlético Madrid to Win, 1.40 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
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