Alavés v Sevilla
Second-placed Sevilla get La Liga Santander’s Matchday 27 up and running, visiting Alavés for the Friday night game. It’s an important one for both sides as Sevilla still trail Real Madrid by six points, while Alavés remain firmly inside the relegation zone.
Sevilla are the favourites and should have enough to defeat this poor Alavés side, even if the title challengers do have a few injury concerns, but it might be something of a grind for Sevilla to secure the three points. These are two teams that have very defined tactics, with Alavés likely to sit very deep in their favoured 4-5-1 system, while Sevilla will dominate possession in their 4-3-3 but be typically slow and patient in using it. We’ve seen this kind of game before, with Sevilla having mastered the art of grinding out 1-0 victories against defensive-minded opponents, especially on the road.
Looking at these teams’ form in general this season, there have been just 1.92 goals per game in Alavés’ home matches in 2021/22, the second-lowest in that category, while there have been just 1.38 goals per game in Sevilla’s away matches in 2021/22, the very lowest in that category.
This isn’t expected to be a particularly entertaining game to kick off the LaLiga Santander matchday. But, it could be an enjoyable start to the weekend for anyone backing the under on the 2.5 goals market.
Osasuna v Villarreal
Villarreal will aim to keep up their red hot form when they visit Osasuna on Saturday and they’ll be confident for two reasons. One is their recent form, as Villarreal have won four and drawn two of their past six matches, with those draws coming against top-tier opponents in Real Madrid and Juventus. The other reason is that Osasuna have the second-worst home form in the division this season.
A good Villarreal performance should be expected and goals should be expected too. Over Villarreal’s good run of form, they’ve scored 15 goals in those six matches, including their 5-1 victory against Espanyol last weekend when teenager Yéremy Pino scored four times inside the opening hour. He’ll likely start again and there’s even a chance that star forward Gerard Moreno could have some minutes too.
Osasuna’s fans are growing frustrated by the fact that they’ve witnessed just two home victories at El Sadar all season, with their last home match a very disappointing 3-0 loss to Atlético Madrid. Villarreal will travel to Pamplona with a similar level of firepower to Atleti and they’ll expect to ripple the net multiple times.
Espanyol v Getafe
Espanyol vs Getafe is a match between the teams sitting 14th and 15th. But, weirdly, it’s also a showdown between two strikers who are currently joint-second in LaLiga Santander’s scoring charts. While Karim Benzema leads the way on 19 goals, Espanyol’s Raúl de Tomás and Getafe’s Enes Ünal are currently joint-second on 13 league goals each.
They have both been very impressive this season and come into this game in good form. Ünal has eight goals already in 2022, while de Tomás has four and may have had more had it not been for a two-game suspension he recently served.
Given, then, that both these teams have strikers who know where the back of the net is, we should expect goals this Saturday afternoon. That has been the case over these two teams’ recent matches as well, as both teams have scored in each of Espanyol’s past three games (2-2 draw vs Barcelona, 1-1 draw vs Sevilla, 5-1 loss vs Villarreal) and in each of Getafe’s past three games (4-3 loss vs Atlético, 1-1 draw vs Cádiz, 2-2 draw vs Alavés).
There is very good value on both teams to score at the RCDE Stadium, with odds of 2.15 for De Tomás’ side and Ünal’s side to each get on the scoresheet.
Valencia v Granada
Valencia are back in the Copa del Rey final and their fans and players partied late into the night on Wednesday after winning 1-0 in the second leg of their semi-final against Athletic at home. Thousands of fans packed the streets outside the stadium as the players celebrated from the balcony, as this was a huge moment for the club.
Now, Valencia need to refocus on LaLiga action and that’s easier said than done. We’ve already seen how their cup run has hampered their league form, with Valencia only winning one of their seven league games played in 2022. That sole victory was last weekend, but they were played off the park by Real Mallorca and were very fortunate not to just to win but to avoid a thrashing.
It’s Granada who come to town next and they are in a poor run of form of their own, with no wins in eight. But, Granada have turned in a few good performances of late and, curiously, they’ve actually looked better on the road.
Granada are major underdogs for this weekend’s game and that is for a reason. But, we’ve seen Valencia suffer a few Copa del Rey hangovers already in the past couple of months and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if there is another this Saturday.
Real Madrid v Real Sociedad
Real Madrid supporters might already be thinking ahead to their comeback attempt against Paris Saint-Germain, but Carlo Ancelotti is not. He isn’t planning to rotate and he has labelled this game “a final”, with the Italian considering the LaLiga Santander title race just as important as the Champions League last 16 second leg. With David Alaba the only real injury concern at Real Madrid right now, Los Blancos should be able to put out close to a full-strength team on Saturday night.
Real Sociedad, on the other hand, have up to eight injury concerns right now, with most of them in defence. That’s a problem for Imanol Alguacil, who saw his side lose 2-0 to Real Madrid in the Basque Country earlier this season. Even though Karim Benzema got injured early in that game, La Real couldn’t make the most of that.
There’s a stylistic reason why Real Madrid should be heavily favoured on Saturday night too, as Real Sociedad are a team that like to have the ball and to take the initiative. Real Madrid, at least this year under Ancelotti, are at their best when they can sit a little deeper and then get Vinícius involved in quick counter-attacks. The Brazilian should be a key factor in this game as Real Madrid aim to warm up for their PSG showdown with a victory. Given Real Sociedad’s injury issues, poor away form and style, Real Madrid are the clear favourites here.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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