LALIGA

La Liga Santander week 16 predictions and scorecard

AS oracle had one last chance to finish 2016 on the right note and was still holding out hope of a Christmas in the Seychelles. Six out of nine was decent but no holiday fun.

Jorge Sampaoli
Lalo R. Villar DIARIO AS

Alavés – Betis (Friday 20:45) Prediction: away win - Result: 1-0

Another Friday night, another Betis away game… Mrs’ Betis must be delighted with the arrangement. Betis are probably just as fed up, having been thumped 3-1 at Eibar the last time they filled the graveyard shift. However, Petros will be back in midfield after missing last week’s victory over Athletic and Víctor Sánchez appeared to have found a way to get Betis to defend in that game at the Villamarín. Alavés have won just once at home this season but have conceded just eight times, fewer than Real Madrid and Sevilla. Rubén Castro, who has had more pops than any player other than Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, will be keen to put that record to the test.

Ruben Castro celebrates with teammates after scoring for Real Betis

Ruben Castro celebrates with teammates after scoring for Real Betis

Sporting – Villarreal (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: draw - Result: 1-3 

Sporting have looked solid since their stirring performance in the Bernabéu, beating Osasuna and narrowly losing to Espanyol. The Rojiblancos’ survival hopes rest on their home form, as do Villarreal’s European ambitions, the Submarine having won just once away from El Madrigal all season. Fran Escriba’s side have scored just five on the road and they could struggle in El Molinón to break down a Sporting side with the very tangible possibility of spending Christmas out of the relegation mire.

Atlético – Las Palmas (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win - Result: 1-0

The wheels have come off at Atlético a little in the league, a drab 0-0 at home against Espanyol being followed up by a 3-0 drubbing at Villarreal last weekend. The visit of Las Palmas is not a welcome one for Diego Simeone, who will be well aware that Quique Setién’s side can pass their way out of most situations and the Argentinean will go for the jugular with Atlético’s new and not-so improved directness, probably playing Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro together. The Atlético number seven is well overdue a league goal and could prove the difference in a close game at the Calderón.

Antoine Griezmann could be the difference for Atletico Madrid tomorrow

Antoine Griezmann could be the difference for Atletico Madrid tomorrow

Granada – Real Sociedad (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: draw - Result: 0-2

This very fixture cost us a perfect 10 last season, and the filthy betting lucre that would have reaped, so there is little love lost for the home side here. However, Granada have turned a bit of a corner after beating Sevilla 2-1 a couple of weeks ago (also not helping our little consortium) and then backing that up with a 1-1 draw away at Málaga, thus gaining one fewer point in two games than they had managed all season up to last week. That should be enough of a shot in the arm to continue in a similar vein against a La Real side who rather spectacularly got thrashed 5-1 by Depor last time they ventured beyond Anoeta.

Willian Jose celebrates with teammates after scoring against Valencia

Willian Jose celebrates with teammates after scoring against Valencia

Sevilla – Málaga (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win - Result: 4-1

Which Sevilla will turn up against Málaga on Saturday evening? The one that capitulated against Granada in Los Cármenes or that splatted a Celta side at Riazor who had won their last five consecutive home games? What’s for certain is that at the Sánchez Pizjuán, Sevilla have won six of seven, their sole loss coming against Barcelona and that was a close call. Málaga will have to play above the sum of their parts to get anything out of this and as their record of five wins, six draws and four losses suggests, they haven’t yet found a way of doing that yet.

Leganés – Eibar (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: draw - Result: 1-1

A team that can’t win at home hosting one that can’t win away: Leganés have scored six goals at Butarque and Eibar have bagged nine away from home, five of them against Granada and the help-yourself defensive stylings of early-season Espanyol. We rather fancy this will be a stalemate.

Deportivo – Osasuna (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win - Result: 2-0

Deportivo have been on a bit of a scoring roll in recent weeks, bagging 12 in four games, and were beaten by Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Real Madrid in extremis, all three sides scoring in stoppage time to deny Depor a deserved point. Osasuna, rock-bottom and with the worst defensive record in the league, could be on the end of a serious hiding in Riazor.

Barcelona – Espanyol (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: home win - Result 4-1

Espanyol haven’t won the Barcelona derby since Mauricio Pochettino announced his arrival in the coaching arena with a 2-1 win in Camp Nou back in 2009. Although Quique Sánchez Flores has shored up the back four and Diego López went five games without conceding before Sporting breached him last weekend, Luis Enrique has his full armoury available for this one. After recent setbacks against Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and Málaga, Barça will be champing at the bit to put Espanyol to the sword and the Parakeets’ recent defensive solidity may be laid bare in enemy territory.

Lionel Messi and Neymar Junior are seen during a friendly football match against Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahli F

Lionel Messi and Neymar Junior are seen during a friendly football match against Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahli F

Athletic – Celta (Monday 20:45) Prediction: home win - Result: 2-1

Celta winger Fabián Orellana, the source of so much of their attacking verve, has been ruled out again for the trip to San Mamés and the visitors have shipped six in their last two games, which will be of considerable interest to Aritz Aduriz, who hasn’t found the net in his last five Liga outings. Even if the Spain striker is off the mark again, Iñaki Williams and Iker Muniain were excellent during Athletic’s home victory against Eibar and should provide enough powder to fire the Lions to victory against a Celta side who haven’t won on the road since September.


 

Valencia – Real Madrid

Real Madrid's trip to Mestalla was postponed due to their involvement at the 2016 FIFA World Club Cup in Japan where Zidane's side have classified for Sunday's final vs. Kashima Antlers (Japan)