LALIGA

LaLiga Week 4 predictions

Betis - Granada (Friday, 20.45) Prediction: home win

Betis picked up their first win of the season last weekend away at struggling Valencia, while Granada slipped to a second consecutive defeat at home to Eibar. Paco Jémez's side are in 17th and in desperate need of a result in Seville. That shoud play nicely into Betis' hands.

Photo: DIARIO AS

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Leganés - Barcelona (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: away win

There were zero obtainers of 15 correct results on the Spanish football pools last week precisely because of Alavés' incredible result in Camp Nou. Fellow new boys Leganés were brought back down to earth with a thud at Sporting, the Madrid side's first defeat of the season. It seems unlikely that Barça will be tripped up again in southern Madrid, but that's probably what Atlético thought before being held 0-0 in Butarque. Leganés will defend as they did that afternoon, with everything they've got, but Barça should have too much quality for the Cucumber Growers.

Photo: Getty Images

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Atlético - Sporting (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win

Atlético got firmly back on track in Balaídos a week ago, thrashing a woeful Celta side 4-0 to climb into the top half of the table. The chaotic first exchanges of the season can be summed up by the sight of Sporting in third place after a cracking start to the season that has seen Abelardo's side beat Athletic and Leganés and hold Alavés. However, Diego Simeone's side will hit the ground running in the Calderón after a decent midweek result in Eindhoven.

Photo: DIARIO AS

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Eibar - Sevilla (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: draw

Eibar have won their last two matches to move into the top six while Sevilla are one of the three unbeaten sides in the division after three games. Unai Emery was always going to be a tough act to follow but Jorge Sampaoli has gone some way already to justifying the club's choice of replacement. Eibar have proven themselves tricky to beat at home since their elevation to the top flight though and could deny Sevilla another win in Ipurua.

Photo: DIARIO AS

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Las Palmas - Málaga (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win

Málaga lost three experienced centre forwards during the summer (Roque Santa Cruz, Ikechukwu Uche and Dude Cop) and brought in part-time Barça striker Sandro and Michael Santos from River Plate. The latter has yet to feature and the former has yet to score, with Málaga's goals coming from a defender, a midfielder and stalwart forward Charles. Juande Ramos is a decent coach and will push together the disparate parts of his squad eventually but it may be too soon for a trip to high-flying Las Palmas, who have already doled out a couple of drubbings to Valencia and Granada ths season.

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Osasuna - Celta (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: draw

Celta are a shadow of the side that started last season in such fine form and Osasuna so far have lived up to the modest expectatations of a club with a total market value of less than 30 million euros. Celta have more resources at their disposal but it's a bottom of the table clash at the El Sadar and the 12pm kick off is unlikely to whet too many appetites ahead of Sunday lunch going on the two team's performances so far.

Photo: Diario AS

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FUTBOL 16/17

Like Celta, Valencia are in hot water already. The white hankies are being washed and pressed for the next home game at Mestalla and Pako Ayestarán needs something out of Sunday's trip to San Mamés. Ayestarán was widely credited with being the brains behind Rafa Benítez's various successes and while there are mitigating factors -- such as losing his best defender, midfielder and striker -- the perennial number two hasn't got long too prove he's the man for the top job. That's not Athletic's problem though and the Lions won't be in the mood for doing a Daniel after a poor start to the season themselves.

Photo: Athletic - Valencia (Sunday 16.15) Prediction: home win

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Villarreal - Real Sociedad (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: draw

An attractive game in El Madrigal between two sides who play some decent stuff without always getting the desired result. Villareal did a job on Málaga last weekend at La Rosaleda while Sociedad were held at home by Espanyol but this is the sort of match where anything can and will happen and a nightmare for cuponistas countrywide.

Photo: REUTERS

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Espanyol - Real Madrid (Sunday 20.45)

Zinedine Zidane's side sit top the pile after three games with the division's only perfect record and it is hard to see Espanyol undoing it with Real in such confident mood. Sporting Lisbon thought they'd pulled off a shock midweek only to be pegged back by two late goals, further evidence of the menatality Zidane has instilled at the club. There is always a glimmer of hope for opposition sides courtesy of Real's concentration lapses at the back and Gareth Bale may be out for the trip to Catalunya but it's difficult to see Espanyol upsetting Zidane's cart des pommes on Sunday evening.

Photo: DIARIO AS

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Alavés - Deportivo (Monday 20:45) Prediction: draw

If Alavés can beat Barcelona at Camp Nou they are unlikely to be fazed by the visit of a Depor side who have managed just two goals so far this season, and both of those came on the opening day. Alavés remain unbeaten in their return to the top flight and they'll remain unbeaten for another week at least.

Photo: DIARIO AS

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10 / 10