Granada v Osasuna
Sunday 23rd January – 1:00PM KO
Only one point and one league position separate these two teams in La Liga as they come together at Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes, though both will have a point to prove following disappointing midweek defeats.
Robert Moreno’s Granada’s six-game unbeaten run came to an end up against relegation rivals Getafe in midweek, and players in the camp have spoken out of the need to move on quickly. There were some positives from the loss though, with Luis Suárez scoring a brace to end a seven-match goal drought.
Osasuna will be without their three first-choice defenders in David García, Unai García and Aridane Hernández, which means Granada could be optimistic of finding a way through. In attack, however, Jagoba Arrasate will have both Kike García and Ante Budimir available, and they have started to click in recent weeks, posing a significant aerial threat to the home team.
Both Granada and Osasuna average over nine corners per game when they’re involved, and that figure is likely to be even higher when they come up against each other. Osasuna’s direct style gives them the second-highest number of crosses per 90 in LaLiga at 55, while Granada aren’t far behind in sixth at 48.
Prediction: Over 8.5 Corners, 1.91 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐)
Real Madrid v Elche
Sunday 23rd January – 3:15PM KO
These two teams clashed in Copa del Rey action in midweek, with Real Madrid going behind but coming back to win in extra-time at the Estadio Martínez Valero. This meeting, at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, will be an entirely different battle.
Real Madrid are expected to make big changes, with star men Thibaut Courtois and Karim Benzema likely to start, having stayed in Madrid in midweek, while Luka Modrić will also start. On the other hand, Elche will bring in goalkeeper Édgar Badía but are unlikely to make wholesale changes.
With Benzema fresh and firing, Real Madrid will be confident of scoring goals, and they’ll also count on Eden Hazard, who scored his first decisive goal for the club on Thursday and will be looking to add to that should he come on as a substitute. Los Blancos will also be playing in LaLiga and on home turf for the first time since winning the Supercopa de España last weekend, and will be looking to put on a show for fans.
Carlo Ancelotti will have a pretty much full-strength side available to him, while Elche are missing several key players and coach Francisco, who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week. The odds are significantly in Real Madrid’s favour, and they should win comfortably.
Prediction: Real Madrid -1, 1.45 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Rayo Vallecano vs Athletic Club
Sunday 23rd January- 5:30PM KO
Rayo Vallecano remain unbeaten at Estadio de Vallecas this season and boast one of Europe’s best home records across the top five leagues. They’ll be confident of maintaining that run with Radamel Falcao now fit and firing, just as he was when he scored the winner in the reverse fixture earlier on this season.
This tie will pit Rayo coach Andoni Iraola up against his former club, Athletic. They were taken to extra-time by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey before emerging victorious, and that was their third game in seven days that included a round trip to Saudi Arabia. In comparison, Rayo haven’t been in action since last Saturday.
Injuries will also come into play, with Athletic potentially without both Oihan Sancet and Yeray Álvarez, who would both usually start, while Rayo could welcome back Álvaro García. Those would be big blows for Athletic, while Álvaro’s return would be a significant boost to the Rayo attack, who would look to take advantage of Yeray’s absence.
Athletic have undoubtedly been boosted by their midweek antics and you’d have to go back to 5th November to find the last time they lost to a side out of the top two in LaLiga. With that in mind, it’s worth covering yourself with a draw no bet which still provides excellent value for a Rayo Vallecano win.
Prediction: Rayo Vallecano Draw no Bet, 1.83 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Real Sociedad v Getafe
Sunday 23rd January – 5:30PM KO
Real Sociedad impressively saw off Atlético Madrid on Wednesday with a dominating display at Reale Arena. They do have some absences this time around, with Mikel Merino suspended in addition to injury doubts Martin Zubimendi and Alexander Isak, but in David Silva, Ander Guevara and Alexander Sørloth, they have very capable and experienced replacements.
Getafe secured an impressive win over Granada in midweek with arguably their best performance of the season. Despite that confidence boost, Quique Sánchez Flores will need Borja Mayoral to add to his debut goal as both starting and scoring forwards from midweek, Enes Ünal and Sandro Ramírez, will be serving suspensions. They do have a host of new signings, with Oscar Rodríguez and Gonzalo Villar in reserve, to call upon.
The best bet for this fixture is for Getafe to be spending plenty of time with the referee. The visiting team have picked up three or more bookings in each of their last five LaLiga fixtures, with one of those games actually involving the referee for Sunday’s clash, José Luis Munuera Montero.
Getafe are also the second-highest ranking team in LaLiga for yellow cards with 64. Real Sociedad are likely to leave them chasing shadows, particularly energetic winger Adnan Januzaj up against the ageing Damián Suárez, though he is only one of five players in Getafe’s expected line-up to already have five or more yellow cards to his name this season.
Prediction: Getafe 20+ Booking Points, 1.53 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Alavés vs Barcelona
Sunday 23rd January – 8:00PM KO
Neither side comes into this tie in their best form or overflowing with confidence and so the first goal could be decisive in this encounter, though it may not be the only goal.
Alavés had seemed to pick up following the appointment of José Luis Mendilibar, but a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Real Betis on Monday brought them back down to earth with a bump. The former Eibar manager will be cursing his fortunes that he will have to fight back against a side who he has only beaten once in 25 meetings.
Much of how this tie goes may depend on how Mendilibar lines up. Should Miguel de la Fuente start in attack, it would reflect the pressing game that the coach has looked to instil, but if Manu García is preferred, it would be a sign of a more conservative midfield reinforcement.
Xavi faces his own challenges with Barcelona, who will be without Gavi, Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay and Ousmane Dembele in attack. Even without them, there were 10 goals scored in their last two outings against Real Madrid and Athletic, and Barcelona’s defence continues to look shaky. Following elimination from both the Supercopa de España and Copa del Rey in just over a week, a confidence boost is needed.
The defensive weaknesses and desperate need for a goal for both teams means that the goals could flow. Ferran Torres opened his account and Luuk de Jong is finding form for Barcelona, while Joselu is the fifth-highest scorer in LaLiga this season.
Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 1.73 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
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