LALIGA

Primera predictions, results and scorecard: week 9

The AS Oracle, fresh from a three-euro win in the previous week's Quiniela, was in bullish mood ahead of the weekend. We find out that he remains a 50% man.

AS English Primera predictions: week 9
FELIPE SEVILLANO DIARIO AS

Osasuna – Betis (Fri 20.45) Prediction: draw | Result: 1-2

Gus Poyet will be more than happy to be as far as possible from the Benito Villamarín after last weekend’s thrashing by Real Madrid was met by chants calling for the Betis boss to receive his marching orders. Poyet received the dreaded vote of confidence after that 6-1 hiding but he knows he needs a win sooner rather than later and a trip to an Osasuna side languishing in 19th with just one win from eight games would be a good place to start. However, the home side’s inaugural victory came in their last outing and the shot in the arm that will give Enrique Martín’s side, who are looking every inch like a Segunda side who unexpectedly scraped through the playoffs last season after finishing sixth, cannot be underestimated.

Espanyol – Eibar (Sat 13.00) Prediction: draw | Result 3-3

Espanyol are only outside the drop zone on goal difference and Quique Sánchez Flores is another manager with the axe swinging ever closer to his brief reign. Eibar have been solid all season and deservedly sit eighth. The telling statistic in this one is that the visitors have scored in every game this season while Espanyol have gone three without finding the net, a situation not helped by the absence of injured strikers Felipe Caicedo and Álvaro Vázquez. It will be a close one in Cornella.

Valencia – Barcelona (Sat 16.15) Prediction: away win | Result 2-3

Valencia have reacted immediately to new manager Cesare Prandelli, a good old-fashioned task master who has provided a much-needed (doubtless sensibly black) boot up the collective backside. That scientific intangible, new manager bounce, worked last weekend in Gijón, where Mario Suárez and João Cancelo bossed the midfield. The last five Liga meetings between the sides have reaped two wins for each and a draw and this is not a fixture Barcelona enjoy, however irresistible they looked in schooling Man City in midweek. Valencia have won three of their last four and could give the visitors a decent game in Mestalla.

Real Sociedad – Alavés (Sat 18.30) Prediction: draw | Result 3-0

Real Sociedad had been looking fairly comfortable in last weekend’s Basque derby until a 20-minute flourish from Athletic that resulted in three goals and eventual victory. Another local encounter against Alavés pits 10th against 9th in Anoeta and only Atlético and Villarreal have conceded fewer than the visitors. La Real are still desperately missing the guaranteed goals of long-term absentee Imanol Igarretxe and Willian José, signed during the summer from Deportivo Maldonado as a replacement after a loan spell at Las Palmas, hasn’t found the net in his last three games.

Granada – Sporting (Saturday 20.45) Prediction: home win | Result 0-0

Granada are in deep trouble with only eight games of the season gone. Rock bottom with two points on the board, four consecutive losses and a 7-1 spanking at the Calderón last time out is hardly designed to boost morale around Los Cármenes and Lucas Alcaraz, whose last gig at Levante reaped a win percentage of 23.26, was not exactly a Churchillian appointment. If Granada are to stay up, they need an upturn in fortunes immediately and the visit of 18th placed Sporting, who possess the second-lowest goals-for record in the division, is as good a chance as they’ll get.

Celta – Deportivo (Sun 12.00) Prediction: home win | Result 4-1

The Derbi Galego is a juicy dish for the Liga pen-pushers to serve up in Sunday’s early game, and a perfect aperitif to a five-course Sabbath feast. It is also one of the most finely balanced historically and as fiercely contested as any other, making this a proper coupon buster. In the top flight, Celta have won 25 times, Depor 23, with 18 draws. Celta have certainly missed Nolito this season but not half as much as Depor have Lucas Pérez. The now-Arsenal forward scored and provided an assist in his final match at Riazor, a 2-1 win over Eibar, and Depor have managed just four goals since. For their part, Celta were awful in El Madrigal last week. This could go either way.

Sevilla – Atlético (Sun 16.15) Prediction: draw | Result 1-0

The game of the weekend and no mistake, leaders Atlético travel to third-placed Sevilla with a spring in their step after that drubbing of Granada and a hard-fought Champions League victory in Rostov. The home side were also successful in Europe’s elite competition, beating Dinamo Zagreb away to remain neck-and-neck with Juventus. Back to domestic matters, Sevilla will aim to maintain their one-hundred percent home record against a visiting side that have conceded just three times this season.

Málaga – Leganés (Sun 18.30) Prediction: draw | Result 4-0

Leganés are a curious study this season, the Cucumber Growers’ record reading one draw and three defeats at home, three wins and one loss away. That will be of some concern of Málaga, who are below Leganés in the table and only two points off the drop zone, a thin cushion of comfort largely drawn from their home form. Athletic and Eibar have suffered at the Anchovies’ hands in recent weeks but we fancy Leganés to come away from the south coast with a point.

Villarreal – Las Palmas (Sun 18.30) Prediction: home win | Result 2-1

Shexy football, as Ruud Gullit once famously said, will be the order of the day in El Madrigal as two of La Liga’s ball-playing sides aim to continue their fine starts to the season by passing the bejesus out of each other. Home advantage should see Villarreal over the line, the Submarine being unbeaten this season and only losing three last campaign on home soil. One of those was a 1-0 Las Palmas victory and it could be a tight one again with plenty of tiki-taka but perhaps not so much onion bag-bothering.

Real Madrid – Athletic (Sunday 20.45) Prediction: home win | Result 2-1

Real Madrid haven’t lost this fixture in 11 years but Athletic looked excellent in their Basque Derby win last weekend and have the talent and organisation to get something out of their visit to the capital with Real lacking a coherent midfield. However, if Real play like they did in the first 45 minutes against Betis last week, even for 15 or 20 in the first half, it could be an uphill struggle for the visitors before the game has even begun. Which side scores the opening goal will be key to the outcome.