LaLiga week 2: AS English's Primera División predictions
After a shaky start to the season last weekend, the AS oracle took a long, hard look at itself in the mirror and vowed to do better this time...
Betis – Deportivo | Prediction: draw | Result: 0-0
This was down as an away win until news emerged that Lucas Pérez was in London on Friday being poked and prodded by the Arsenal medical staff (which will probably rule him out until Christmas). Shorn of their top scorer, who bagged 17 in the league last season and one and an assist in last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Eibar, Depor won’t be high on morale going into this one. They’ll struggle to replace Pérez adequately before the window shuts and they’ll struggle to score in Seville.
Espanyol - Málaga | Prediction: draw | Result: 2-2
Espanyol hit four last weekend and still conspired to leave the Sánchez Pizjuán with nil points. The home support will be bang up for this one as Quique brings his own particular crisp white-shirted brand of brooding to the RCDE Stadium but Málaga are a fairly resilient side and don’t travel as poorly as others in the league.
Osasuna - Real Sociedad | Prediction: home win | Result: 0-2
Osasuna grabbed a valuable point in La Rosaleda last week and El Sadar (named after a nearby river, not oil-moneyed owners) has always been a tough place to visit. The home support are among the most boisterous in the land and a first home game back in the top flight will give them plenty to cheer about. That should be enough to see Osasuna over the line against a La Real side who were decent last weekend at home against Madrid but ultimately undone by defensive lapses.
Eibar - Valencia | Prediction: home win | Result: 1-0
Let’s go out on a Lim, (we’re here all week etc...). Valencia are in dreadful shape. The club’s best player, Paco Alcácer, is making eyes at traditional cuckold Barça and Shkodran Mustafi was on Pérez’s plane to London. André Gomes has already done one and Valencia were humped 4-2 by Las Palmas last time out. Eibar lost only six at home last season, mostly to the usual suspects, and will fancy their chances of getting off the mark in Ipurua against a shambles of a back line that is now Mustafi-less to boot.
Real Madrid – Celta | Prediction: home win | Result: 2-1
If early season form is anything to go by Celta are in big trouble. A loss at Balaídos to newly promoted - and skint - Leganés is not the best start to a campaign and a trip to the Bernabéu in week two is injury to insult. We’ll leave the rest to Hugo Mallo: “I can’t remember a game where we played as badly as this,” the Celta defender said after last weekend’s opener.
Leganés - Atlético | Prediction: away win | Result: 0-0
They couldn’t possibly, could they? Maybe not, but they could do something in between. Leganés raised a few eyebrows last weekend by taking three points from their opening match and sit proudly in seventh place, one ahead of their opponents this weekend. Atlético Madrid boss Diego Simeone’s post-match speech would have been fun to listen to after his side pre-empted the whistle by a minute or two to let Alavés back in and you suspect fear of incurring his wrath afresh will be enough prevent any similar slip-ups in a jam-packed Butarque.
Las Palmas - Granada | Prediction: home win | Result: 5-1
Las Palmas are heavy favourites for the win in the Estádio Gran Canaria after putting four past Valencia last weekend and Granada are going to find goals difficult to come by this season following the departures of Rubén Rochina, Isaac Success and Jhon Córdoba, along with Moroccan schemer Youssef El Arabi. Kevin Prince Boateng has added some undoubted star quality to Las Palmas while Marko Livaja banged in double the number of goals he scored last season at Empoli on his debut for Los Amarillos in Mestalla.
Alavés - Sporting | Prediction: home win | Result: 0-0
Spirits will be high in the Alavés camp after an unlikely point was picked up in the Calderón and in Mauricio Pellegrino the newly promoted side possess one of the more underrated managers in the division. Alavés have also signed well in the summer transfer loan market and when all of the incoming players, including Víctor Camarasa, Marcos Llorente, Deyverson and Theo Hernández are up to speed they will be tough to beat, especially at home.
Athletic - Barcelona | Prediction: away win | Result: 0-1
On paper this should be fairly straightforward for Barça, who thrashed Betis last weekend with Leo Messi and Luis Suárez in sublime form already. The Lions, meanwhile, looked laboured and uninspiring in defeat at Sporting. However, the AS oracle has punted quite heavily on the visitors to win by two goals or more, so our apologies in advance to Luis Enrique.
Villarreal - Sevilla | Prediction: away win | Result: 0-0
Last season Villarreal would have been favourites for this fixture by a reasonable stretch: Sevilla remarkably failed to win a game away from home in 2015-16. Incoming coach Jorge Sampaoli lived up to his reputation as a tactical maverick with a 3-3-3-1 formation that was understandably shaky at the back but irresistible going forward, resulting in an early contender for game of the season as Sevilla beat Espanyol 6-4 last weekend. Villarreal were perhaps unlucky to leave Granada without three points in round one, hitting the woodwork twice, but failed to reach the Champions League group stages in defeat to Monaco midweek. That will be a bitter pill for the players, who now face the long slog of the Europa League instead of a hearty feast at Europe’s top table.
*All times CEST.
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