Eibar – Leganés (Friday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Leganés have got off to an excellent start and sit proudly in the European places after three games. Eibar have been less switched on in the early exchanges but have not been shy about shooting, they just haven’t been hitting the net. In all likelihood a single goal will settle this one, and we fancy the home side to break their two-game duck.
Levante – Valencia (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: draw
The Valencia derby pits eighth against ninth and two unbeaten sides playing some decent, expansive stuff under coaches who like to move the ball around. The two may not see eye-to-eye on much but do share a recent history of nicking points off Madrid and this will likely be a close one. Close enough, in fact, for the spoils to be shared in a score draw.
Getafe – Barcelona (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: away win
In the two seasons prior to Getafe’s relegation, Barça did the double on the Madrid-based side on two occasions, with an aggregate scoreline of 14-0. You have to go back to a 2-2 draw in Camp Nou in 2014 for the last time Geta found the net against Ernesto Valverde’s side, who put Juventus to the sword in the Champions League midweek. Leo Messi is in scintillating form and the only question for punters on the Quinigol is whether Getafe will score in defeat. The home side finally got off the mark last weekend in a 2-1 win over Leganés but they’ve still only managed seven shots on target in three games.
Betis – Deportivo (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Quique Setién has called for patience as he attempts to get Betis firing like his Las Palmas side did in their pomp but that is a commodity in historically short supply at the Villamarín. There is no question of Setién facing the same ridiculous fate as Frank de Boer at Crystal Palace – another coach trying to sew a playing style into the fabric of a rudderless club. Setién’s side have shown glimpses and their opening goal at Villarreal was a thing of beauty. The problem for Setién was the three they conceded afterwards. Does he continue with his gung-ho attacking approach or try a more pragmatic style against Depor, who have shipped nine already? The neutral will hope for the former. There’ll be goals in Seville but Betis should come out on top.
Atlético – Málaga (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Málaga have lost their opening three games, scoring just once, and are being kept off the bottom of the table only by Alavés, who are yet to bother the opposition keeper at all. It’s a situation that Abdullah Al Thani won’t tolerate for too long and the cracks are already showing across La Rosaleda. A trip to Atlético’s shiny new stadium for its inaugural game, the return of Antoine Griezmann from suspension, a clean bill of health for the home side (long-term absentee Augusto aside) and a few key injuries for Míchel’s Málaga and it’s not difficult to envisage The Anchovies getting skewered and grilled in the capital.
Alavés – Villarreal (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: away win
Villarreal have recovered from a shaky start and have scored six in their last two outings in European and domestic competition through six different scorers. On paper at least the Submarine have one of the best squads outside the nominal big three and it appears as if Fran Escribà has figured out how to get them firing. Alavés are rock-bottom, goalless, considerably weaker than last season and ripe for the plucking by a side who will look to score early.
Girona – Sevilla (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: away win
Girona have got off to a more than decent start but the suspicion remains that they are a top-quality forward short of guaranteeing Primera survival. Pablo Machín’s three-at-the-back formation is a bit of an invitation to an attack-minded side and Sevilla are certainly that. Eduardo Berizzo’s 4-1-4-1 buzzed around Eibar in a 3-0 victory last time out and although he will have to do without the injured Nolito and Pablo Sarabia, the visitors have a wealth of attacking options and should be too much to handle for the home side.
Las Palmas – Athletic (Sunday 18:30) draw
Las Palmas have been pretty rotten so far this season and even the Canary Islanders' luck in landing Vitolo on loan hasn't covered the cracks in the squad Manolo Márquez inherited. Roque Mesa’s influence is sorely missed with the Spanish Toni Kroos now pulling what strings there are at Swansea. However, Athletic are again stretched thinly between domestic and European demands and the effects of a trip to Berlin ahead of the lengthy jaunt to the 29th parallel cannot be underestimated. Both sides will be happy enough to share the spoils.
Real Sociedad – Real Madrid (Sunday 20:45) home win
After a blistering start to the season Real have not had it all their own way in recent weeks and have struggled for goals in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese will be missing again leaving Gareth bale to lead the attack. The Welshman has been wasteful so far in a central role and has only three league goals in 2017. Sociedad are second in the table after three wins from three and scoring for fun. Take Karim Benzema and the suspended Marcelo out of Real’s attacking equation and Sociedad are in with a genuine shot at an upset in Anoeta.
Espanyol – Celta (Monday 21:00) draw
Espanyol will be smarting after a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Barcelona and it's unlikely Quique Sánchez Flores will try anything too outlandish with his side in the bottom three. Celta have not really got into gear yet and only the exceptional form of Maxi Gómez, who has bagged four in three in the league, has prevented Celta’s low key start from being on a par with Espanyol’s. All things considered a low scoring draw sounds about right.