Atlético – Sevilla (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: draw
A tough game for both sides opens up the weekend’s action at the Metropolitano, where Atlético got off to a winning start in their new home in a fairly uninspiring 1-0 victory over struggling Málaga. Atleti are no strangers to that scoreline while Saturday’s visitors have won three games by a single goal to nil already this season and drew 1-1 in another. All things considered, a score draw seems the obvious bet.
Alavés – Real Madrid (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: away win
Madrid are back in familiar territory with players dropping like flies early in the season and Zinedine Zidane will have to do without Karim Benzema, Marcelo, Mateo Kovacic, Theo Hernández and potentially Toni Kroos, who did not train on Friday. However, that Zidane is considering resting Dani Carvajal and potentially handing 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi his senior debut suggests the Real boss doesn’t envisage too many problems in Mendizorrotza – although he was perhaps guilty of underestimating Levante a couple of weeks ago in making a raft of changes to his side. Alavés are rock bottom and haven’t scored a goal in five games so far so the away win is nailed on. Anything other than three points and the file marked “crisis at Real Madrid” can be definitively dusted off.
Málaga – Athletic (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: away win
Málaga were nothing short of a shambles in Mestalla as Valencia put them to the sword and even more damning than the 5-0 scoreline was the manner of The Anchovies’ meek surrender. Los Che had almost as many shots on goal in that game as Málaga have managed all season, for a return of just one goal, and despite Athletic’s gruelling recent schedule The Lions should ease Míchel toward a date with the big cats in the arena with a straightforward victory in La Rosaleda.
Girona – Barcelona (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: away win
Barcelona have recovered from their Super Cup loss to Real Madrid in fine style and the boot is on the other foot in the league. To be exact, it is on Leo Messi’s left peg, with the Argentinean helping himself to nine goals and a pair of hat-tricks already this season. Girona have proven they can mix it with the big boys in the playground but at the moment Barça are the school bully and the home side can expect to be picked up their ankles and relieved of their lunch money on Saturday evening. It may not be a whitewash – Girona have only conceded five in five games and have already played Atlético, Sevilla and Athletic – but it will be an away win.
Espanyol – Deportivo (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: home win
Espanyol are back on track after a slow start to the season and have picked up four points in their last two games to provide the tonic to a cracking hangover from the 5-0 mauling at Camp Nou. Depor finally got off the mark during the midweek fixtures, albeit by just the single goal against basement boys Alavés, but showed little to suggest that will spark an upturn in their fortunes. Quique Sánchez Flores has fashioned a solid side in the image of his old Atlético and in Pablo Piatti and Gerard Moreno two players capable of the occasional moment of magic.
Getafe – Villarreal (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: draw
Getafe have been better value than their current position of 14th suggests while Villarreal’s mini-revival hit the buffers midweek at home against Espanyol. The Yellow Submarine have not been scoring for fun and have only found the net in two games this season. At the same time Getafe have not been conceding many and showed against Barcelona that they are capable of keeping even the best the league has to offer fairly quiet. This really could go either way but a sharing of the spoils seems the most likely outcome in the Coliseum.
Eibar – Celta (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: away win
Eibar’s leaking defence is a concern for all at Ipurua, particularly as the goals are not rattling in at a steady clip down the other end. Celta are being kept afloat single-handed by Maxi Gómez, who has scored five of his side’s six goals this season and only not hit the target in one game so far. The Uruguayan’s run may prove to be unsustainable but the return of John Guidetti, who may play a part from the bench, will ease that burden and Iago Aspas surely has to bag one sooner rather than later.
Las Palmas – Leganés (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: away win
There isn’t much getting past Leganés this season, with Gabriel Pires and Martín Mantovani leading the way in LaLiga in terms of aerial duels won. Asier Garitano’s side have conceded just three and play a tight defensive formation with a view to nicking a goal and hanging on to a lead for dear life. Las Palmas have only got out of first gear against the defensive open invitation of Míchel’s Málaga and were on the wrong end of another 1-0 defeat at Sevilla midweek. We fancy Leganés to stick to their script in Gran Canaria and frustrate Manolo Márquez’s side for a narrow win.
Real Sociedad – Valencia (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: draw
Both sides have been playing some scintillating attacking football this season but La Real have fallen by the wayside in the table after shipping three goals in successive games against Madrid and Levante. Valencia remain unbeaten under Marcelino and will be heading to San Sebastián in fourth place. Between them these teams have banged in 20 goals already this season so it could be a high-scoring one but we fancy it to end evens when the dust settles.
Betis – Levante (Monday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Betis will be buzzing after beating Real Madrid at the Bernabéu for the first time in 20 years and even without Víctor Camarasa, who was formidable in that game, Quique Setién will put out a side to go for the win in the Villamarín. Levante have shown all the early signs of being this season’s surprise package and have unearthed a real bargain in Enis Bardhi, who scored another free kick in the 3-0 win over Sociedad. Another game where goals could be flying in left, right and centre the feel good factor around the green and white of Sevilla cannot be underestimated after years of stagnation and should carry Betis over the line.