IT’S been a profitable week for Mark O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) La Liga selections. The Spanish football fanatic has lined up three more for the weekend.
Real Madrid v Eibar | Saturday 15.00
It’s been a busy week of La Liga action but it’s as you were at the top of the table. Real Madrid remain four points adrift of their bitter Catalan rivals but this weekend could prove pivotal in the battle to be crowned champions.
Los Blancos play their third fixture in six days when minnows Eibar travel to the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon in what will prove a routine three points for Carlo Ancelotti’s European champions. On Saturday evening, Barcelona face a huge test when visiting a Sevilla side unbeaten in over 12 months of league football on home soil. It would not be a surprise to see that gap cut to just one point at 9pm on Saturday night.
I prefer to focus on Real’s meeting with Eibar, which shouldn’t veer of the usual script. Madrid destroyed Granada 9-1 last Sunday before eventually getting the better of Rayo Vallaceno on Wednesday and the home side should ease to a comfortable three points. BetVictor have made Real -2.5 on the Asian Handicap an 8/11 play and that’s good enough for me.
With this selection, we’ll have ourselves a winner should Los Blancos beat the lowly Basques by three goals or more. Since Ancelotti took charge at the Bernabeu, the capital club have won all 15 games against bottom-half La Liga dwellers with 12 of those victories secured by a margin of at least three goals.
Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez picked up costly yellow cards against Rayo, ruling them out of this encounter. But Cristiano Ronaldo saw his booking for diving rescinded and the winker will again be on the scrounge for more goals this weekend; Madrid might have an important Champions League tie against neighbours Atletico on the horizon but they should still boast enough firepower to take their visitors to town.
Eibar ended their 10-game wait for a win on Tuesday when beating Malaga but Gaizka Garitano’s side have collected just five points from a possible 33. Sure, sitting in 14th and six points clear of the drop zone is a fabulous achievement in their debut La Liga season but with nine defeats from their last 11 and one point from 15 on the road, it’s likely to get ugly on Saturday afternoon.
Real Sociedad v Deportivo La Coruna | Sunday 18.00 | Sky Sports 5
Real Sociedad did the business last weekend when securing a point at Malaga before, as predicted by this column, succumb to a HT-FT defeat at Atletico Madrid in midweek. David Moyes’ men have featured prominently in our best Spanish bets in recent weeks and I’ll again make La Real part of our focus as we hunt another profitable weekend.
The San Sebastian side fell to a 2-0 midweek defeat at the defending champions but the Basques were without both first-choice centre-halves Ion Ansotegi and Inigo Martinez through suspension. The game was over inside the first 10 minutes as Atleti grabbed two early goals, sending Sociedad back into the bottom-half.
Both defenders are back for this weekend as La Real return to Anoeta where their fierce home record should stand them in good stead against a free-falling Deportivo side. Víctor Fernández was sacked as Depor boss following their 1-1 draw at home to rock bottom Cordoba in midweek and the Brancoazuis now come up against a Sociedad side that have W29-D14-L10 of their 53 home La Liga fixtures since 2012/13.
It’s a 55% win ratio across those 53 games at Anoeta, whilst the W6-D2-L1 return under Moyes’ stewardship has been bolstered by a three-game winning streak. Since arriving in Spain, the Scot has suffered just five defeats in 19 with all five coming against top-half teams.
So you won’t be surprised to hear I’ve been seduced by William Hill offering 10/11 on the hosts winning. With La Coruna losing 8/14 (57%) of their road matches since promotion, it looks a solid bet.
Victor Sanchez takes up the reigns for Depor, who are winless in eight. And with that loss rate high, the visitors aren’t helped by their pathetic attempts at getting goals on the road. La Coruna have now failed to find the net in eight of their last 10 away fixtures and should find the going tough again this Sunday.
Cordoba v Elche | Sunday 20.00 | Sky Sports 5
The relegation six-pointer between Cordoba and Elche could upset the odds and feature goals. Both Teams To Score has been chalked up at a huge 6/5 with Betfred but by my own calculations, should be closer to 4/5, making it a big value selection.
Beleaguered Cordoba stopped the rot of 10 successive defeats with that midweek point at Deportivo but remain eight points clear of survival. Los Califas are onto their third coach of the season with José Antonio Romero installed but have remained a tricky prospect at their Nuevo Arcángel home.
Despite their dismal season, Cordoba have scored in 10/15 (67%) of their home outings and that’s led to BTTS winners in 9/15 (60%) in front of their home supporters. Elche have only recorded two away wins since September but have managed to net in 8/14 (57%) of their road trips; that’s led to Both Teams Scoring in exactly half of their matches on the road.
The visitors boast just four clean sheets in their last 33 away La Liga fixtures but with Cordoba conceding two goals in each of their last five as hosts, neither defence can be trusted.
Putting the two teams respective Both Teams To Score records together, we should be expecting a 55% chance of a repeat on Sunday; that equates to a 1.82 shot yet we’re being offered the handsome price of 6/5 with Betfred.
Real Madrid v Eibar – Real Madrid -2.5 Asian Handicap (8/11 BetVictor)
Real Sociedad v Deportivo La Coruna – Real Sociedad to win (10/11 William Hill)
Cordoba v Elche – Both Teams To Score (6/5 Betfred)
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