Primera predictions: week 7
In its tireless attempt to retire to a villa on the coast, the AS Oracle casts an eye over the weekend's fixtures and attempts to outfox the odds-makers.
Real Sociedad – Betis (Friday 20.45) Prediction: draw. Result 1-0
Have Betis formally requested to play every Friday night game for the entire season? It appears so and wouldn’t be a terrible idea on current evidence: Los Verdiblancos are unbeaten in the opening weekend slot so far this season, picking up five points from three games, yet were thrashed by Barça on a Sunday and narrowly beaten by Sevilla on a Tuesday. La Real have had a very La Real start to the season, losing three, winning two and drawing one but looked irresistible in thumping Las Palmas 4-1 in their last appearance at Anoeta. The sides are fairly evenly matched and a draw seems the logical outcome.
Granada – Leganés (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: home win. Result 0-1
Valencia have profited from new coach syndrome, winning both of their games under caretaker chalk-man Voro. Granada decided to jettison Paco Jémez during the week and installed the wonderfully named Lluís Planagumà to steady the ship. He has an onerous task: fail to win and Granada will have equalled their worst start to a Liga campaign, set in 1941-42. Leganés are no mugs on the road, beating Celta and Depor, but Granada will be aware that if they can’t muster a win at home against a newly promoted side they’re practically in Segunda already.
Sevilla – Alavés (Saturday 16.15) Prediction: home win. Result 2-1
Sevilla haven't won on the road for 500 days now, an extraordinary statistic for a Champions League club, current Europa League holders and last season’s Copa del Rey runners-up. After Alavés at home, Jorge Sampaoli’s men travel to Butarque to play Leganés and the Chilean schemer will be confident of breaking that hoodoo there. Sevilla should also be too strong at the Sánchez Pizjuán for Alavés… although few would have said any differently when they travelled to Camp Nou.
Osasuna – Las Palmas (Saturday 18.30) Prediction: away win
Osasuna have hardly lit up Primera since their return but with such limited resources that is hardly a surprise. Las Palmas are not exactly swimming around in a Scrooge McDuck pile of loot but still play some aesthetic stuff and have done wonders in loans and free transfers. The loss of Pedro Bigas at the back is a blow for Quique Setién but he’ll have Kevin-Prince Boateng back for this one and forwards Tana, Marko Livaja and Sergio Araujo are all in decent form.
Deportivo – Sporting (20.45) Prediction: draw
No side have scored fewer than Depor (3) this season but Sporting are doing their best in joint second-from-bottom with five strikes so far, and only one of those has been on the road. Depor put up a good scrap in the Calderón last time out, losing by a single goal, while Sporting have had five put past them by Atlético and Barcelona already. It really could go either way but a goalless draw might be the punt in Riazor.
Valencia – Atlético (Sunday 12.00) Prediction: away win
In Mestalla the aforementioned Voro could end his 54th caretaker stint at the club with a 100 percent record. These fixtures are always feisty and the crowd will be on Atleti’s back from the off. Two wins on the bounce and four goals scored will have lightened the mood considerably but it isn’t easy to see Diego Simeone’s side conceding and those Che triumphs were both against newly promoted sides, and they failed to keep a clean sheet in either.
Real Madrid – Eibar (Sunday 16.15) Prediction: home win
Real Madrid have drawn their last three games and as Danilo said the other day, someone will pay for it. The Brazilian even named a victim: visiting Eibar. A case of pin, dressing room for the Basques but their two previous Liga visits to the Bernabéu have been fruitless, with an aggregate score of 7-0.
Espanyol – Villarreal (Sunday 18.15) Prediction: draw
Villarreal are exactly where they will aim to be at the end of the season, tucked in fourth with Athletic and Sevilla snapping at their heels. Espanyol are not where they envisaged being after a big-money takeover, Quique Sánchez Flores’ arrival and some fine summer transfer business; one game wo, 14 goals shipped and in the drop zone. Flores will be on damage limitation here with Liga managers being fired left, right and centre and will happily settle for a shut-out.
Málaga – Athletic (Sunday 18.30) Prediction: draw
Carlos Kameni had a right old moan about referees after the loss to Betis last weekend but when your side scores five goals in six games you make your own luck. Málaga are in 17th and not looking at all like an established Primera side and need to try something different quickly. It is time to hand Youssef El-Nesyri a start after the teenaged Morocco international came off the bench against Eibar to secure Málaga’s only win of the season. Athletic are one of only two sides yet to share the points this season. Juande Ramos will take that.
Celta – Barcelona (Sunday 20.45) Prediction: away win
Last season Celta thrashed Barcelona 4-1 in this fixture with Iago Aspas – Iago Aspas! – stealing the show against Luis Enrique’s star studded side. However, two key transfers later – Augusto Fernández and Nolito both doing one – and an injury to Fabio Orellana and Celta look very ordinary indeed. Barça put five past a spirited Sporting side last weekend and a similar result to last season, only the other way round, is likely.
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