Primera predictions: week 14
AS Oracle had a solid 7 out of 10 last weekend and has reinvested all his winnings in the upcoming LaLiga fixtures. Unlike many, he noticed there was more than one game on!
Granada – Sevilla (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: away win. Result: 2-1
La Liga’s perennial artful dodgers need to improve their home form dramatically if they are to escape the trap door this season. Granada have picked up just one more point at Los Cármenes than they have on the road so far this season but expecting them to do so against Sevilla, who have been beaten just once outside the confines of the Sánchez Pizjuán this season, is a bit of a stretch. A draw is not out of the question but the smart money is on more home misery for Lucas Alcaraz’s strugglers.
Barça – Real Madrid (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: away win. Result: 1-1
The filling in a Granada-Leganés lunchtime bocadillo, there won’t be much interest in what unfolds at Camp Nou. That said, a Real victory would send Zinedine Zidane’s side nine points clear at the top of La Liga and Barcelona have been in fairly poor form of late, held by Málaga at Camp Nou and then dropping points as per at Anoeta. Motivation won’t be an issue for either side but Zidane’s have been winning in adversity while Luis Enrique’s have been coming up short and 2-1 to the visitors has a 10-euro flutter ring to it.
Leganés – Villarreal (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: away win. Result: 0-0
Villarreal’s lofty position in the Liga table has been won on the basis of excellent home form, where Fran Escriba’s submarine have picked up 16 of their 22 points. Leganés, meanwhile, won their first-ever game in Spain’s top flight against Osasuna two weeks ago, and were then promptly thumped away at Espanyol. It’s tempting to lean on Villarreal’s record of one win and three draws on the road this season and Villarreal have won just one of their last four Liga games, a run that includes away defeats at Athletic and Eibar. However, Leganés have drawn only once all season and have four points from six homes games, while Cédric Bakambu is due a goal or two.
Atlético – Espanyol (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: draw. Result: 0-0
On paper this looks like a walk in the park for Atlético but in the away form table Espanyol lie in joint-third, with their opponents on Saturday night. Quique Sánchez Flores will be bang up for getting a result against his former club and in Pablo Piatti, he quietly possesses La Liga’s top assist-maker this season. Atlético’s match at the Allianza Arena may be a dead rubber but Diego Simeone will probably shuffle his pack in the Calderón and Espanyol are the draw-meisters this season, with six stalemates to date.
Betis – Celta (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: home win. Result: 3-3
Víctor Sánchez’s switch to a three at the back system at Betis has not quite garnered the same media fawning as Antonio Conte’s at Chelsea, but it did work a treat in first home game in charge two weeks when Las Palmas were beaten 2-0. Last time out, Betis fell 3-1 away at Eibar and Sánchez will be keen to get his side back on track against Celta, who have struggled on the road this season and will be without the banned Sergio Álvarez, Hugo Mallo and Pablo Hernández, while tricky winger Fabián Orellana is a doubt.
Athletic – Eibar (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: draw. Result: 3-1
It’s been a good season for the Basque sides, with Real Sociedad in fifth and Eibar (7th) and Athletic (8th) in close attendance. The latter two meet in San Mamés on Sunday and the home side will have to cope without two of their biggest goal threats, Aritz Aduriz and Raúl García, who are both suspended. Given Athletic boast the lowest goals-for total in the top 10, Eibar might be tempted to keep it tight and settle for a valuable point in a stadium where they were thumped 5-2 last season.
Alavés – Las Palmas (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: draw. Result: 1-1
Alavés go into their match against Las Palmas fresh from a stunning victory over Villarreal in El Madrigal last weekend, the Submarine’s first home defeat of the season and only their fourth going back to the start of 2015-16. The home side have been better on the road this season and have just one win under their belt at the Mendizorrotza while Las Palmas haven’t won away from Gran Canaria since the opening day of the season and will be without midfield ticker-overer Roque Mesa, who leads the table for completed passes ahead of Koke and Toni Kroos.
Sporting – Osasuna (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win. Result 3-1
A veritable six-pointer in El Molinón as 18th host 19th, with both hoping to put some daylight between themselves and Granada. A win for Sporting would take them out of the drop zone if Valencia and Deportivo do not match that result and you fancy that Abelardo will impress upon his men the importance of doing so if they are to escape the drop. Osasuna are another side who prefer playing away but have picked up just one point in their last five games. Sporting will be buoyed by their performance in the Bernabéu last weekend and should have too much for the visitors.
Valencia – Málaga (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: home win. Result 2-2
Sunday’s late match at Mestalla brings together the most-fouled side in the league (Valencia) and the most-carded (Málaga). The visitors are without a raft of influential players, including on-loan Real Madrid defender Diego Llorente, Juankar, Charles, Keko, and quite probably top scorer Sandro, so it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to see Valencia easing to a much-needed first home win under Cesare Prandelli.
Deportivo – Real Sociedad (Monday 20:45) Prediction: draw
Liga honcho Javier Tebas has apparently decided to use artificial intelligence to sort out the league’s much-maligned scheduling, but he doesn’t need a computer to inform him that nobody wants Monday night football, and even fewer fans are willing to trek out in all weather to watch it live. This would be a cracking game for a Sunday lunchtime but the Monday night slot will take some of the sting out of it. Depor, languishing in 17th, will attempt to the same to high-flying La Real and a draw sounds about right in Riazor.
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