Primera predictions: week 11
The AS Oracle takes a final pre-international break stab at having the office shifted to Barbados by beating the odds on this weekend's action in LaLiga.
Málaga – Sporting (Friday 20.45) Prediction: home win. Result 3-2
Málaga are quietly creeping up the table and doing so on the basis of their home form. Juande Ramos’ side have picked up 10 of their 12 points in La Rosaleda while Sporting have reaped the flimsy reward of just two points from their five away games so far this season, in draws against Granada and Alavés.
Granada – Deportivo (Saturday 13.00) Prediction: draw
Basement side Granada put in a morale-boosting display against Barcelona last time out, losing in Camp Nou by just a single goal. Although not tangible in terms of points that was exactly the shot in the arm that Lucas Alcaraz’s strugglers needed and Depor, languishing in 17th, have yet to pick up a win on the road so both sides should be happy enough with a point shared in Los Cármenes.
Real Sociedad – Atlético (Saturday 16.15) Prediction: draw
Atlético coach Diego Simeone admitted he made a few tactical mistakes against Rostov in midweek and his side have been a bit leaky at the back by their own ridiculous standards in La Liga this season, conceding six times, including three in their last two outings. Atlético only let in 18 in the entirety of 2015-16 and a lively Real Sociedad side will fancy their chances of getting on the score sheet after knocking in five in their last two Liga outings.
Osasuna – Alavés (Saturday 18.30) Prediction: home win
Osasuna against Alavés doesn’t scream goals on paper but there may be more fireworks in El Sadar than Guy Fawkes managed back in the day as two sides desperate for a win go toe-to-toe. Oriol Riera, who found the net last weekend against Athletic, is out for the hosts with a sprained ankle but Sergio León will be eyeing up Alavés as a way back on to the goal trail after hitting four in his last six games. Alavés have only managed three more than that between them over the same period.
Las Palmas – Eibar (Saturday 20.45) Prediction: home win
Las Palmas have dropped off a bit after their exceptional start and are without a win in six games. However, Quique Setién’s lot have only failed to score once this season and only Atlético, Barça and Real Madrid have found the net more often. You’d have thought three goals at home against Celta last weekend might have been enough for victory, but Las Palmas had already conceded three by half time. If the second-half Yellows turn up, Eibar are in trouble. If the Eibar who put three past Espanyol in the first half in Cornellà two weeks ago make the trip, the home side could be up against it. Fans of the Quinigol might want to lean towards the old double-M for this one.
Real Madrid – Leganés (Sunday 12.00) Prediction: home win
Zinedine Zidane’s side took their eye off the ball in an empty stadium against Legia and were punished accordingly while the Real boss made some bizarre decisions in Warsaw, playing with two midfielders, Alvaro Morata plus the BBC and bringing on Marco Asensio as a wing-back at 2-2. There will be none of that in the Bernabéu as Zidane seeks to silence the murmurs of discontent with a display that will make it all better again before the international break. Leganés have been much better away from home than at Butarque but have shipped nine in their last three and could be on the end of a hiding.
Celta – Valencia (Sunday 16.15) Prediction: draw
Valencia are on the up under Cesare Prandelli (and Voro before him in fairness to the perennial Mestalla caretaker) and have had the whole week to prepare for the trip to Balaídos while Celta were engaged in Europa League action against Ajax on Thursday. Fabio Orellana came off the bench to score the equalizer in a 2-2 draw against the Dutch side and the Chilean schemer’s return from injury a couple of weeks ago has already reaped two goals and two assists. Valencia were unlucky against Barcelona and careless against Depor last week, conceding in first-half injury time. A little more of one and a little less of the other should secure a point in Vigo.
Espanyol – Athletic (Sunday 16.15) Prediction: away win
Aritz Aduriz helped himself to five goals during Athletic’s 5-3 Europa League win over Genk and while the old warhorse may be a bit knackered after his exertions, Iñaki Williams was on the bench for the most part and he can do the running for his striker in Cornellà, where Aduriz is understandably as short as 11/10 in places to find the net. Espanyol continue to bemuse, scoring four against Sevilla and losing, three against Eibar and failing to win and more often than not failing to score at all.
Villarreal – Betis (Sunday 18.30) Prediction: home win
Victory over Osasuna bought Gus Poyet a bit of time but a limp home defeat to Espanyol (who scored just the one) last weekend has put the pressure back on the Betis coach. Villarreal have picked up more points than Barça and Real Madrid at home this season, scoring 12 and conceding just three times, the best home defensive record in the division. Fran Escribá’s side put five past Celta a couple of weeks ago and with Sevilla hosting Barça and Atlético travelling to Anoeta, Villarreal could go into the international break third. Poyet could go into the international break unemployed if that score line is repeated.
Sevilla – Barcelona (Sunday 20.45) Prediction: draw
Fortune favours the bold and Jorge Sampaoli is certainly that. Having watched Barcelona labour to a 1-0 home win over Granada last weekend and then get blown away by Manchester city's high-tempo approach in their 3-1 Champions League loss the Chilean won't sit back and invite Barça to bring it on, particularly as Sevilla boast the only perfect home record in the league. There could be a few goals in this and having inflicted a first defeat on Atleti at the Sánchez Pizjuán two weeks ago we quite fancy Sevilla to inflict further woe on Luis Enrique’s side.
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