Primera División predictions: LaLiga 2017-18 week 8
The Oracle has had a glance into the tea leaves and predicts a draw in the Metropolitano between Atlético and Barça and another away win for Real Madrid.
Espanyol – Levante (Friday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Espanyol have recovered from a disappointing start the season and have won their last two at home while Levante, who came out all guns blazing at the outset and took points home from the Bernabéu, have been soundly beaten by Betis and Alavés in recent weeks. Gerard Moreno is on a hot streak in Cornellà with three in his last two and with Espanyol having rediscovered their eye for goal with six strikes in those consecutive home wins a hat-trick on their own turf seems the most likely outcome, even if Quique is no fan of Fridays.
Athletic – Sevilla (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: home win
An interesting test for The Lions at San Mamés as second-placed Sevilla look to put their one defeat so far this season at Atletíco before the international break behind them. The suspicion is that a relative lack of international football among the Athletic squad will favour the home side, who have won this fixture seven times on the trot.
Getafe – Real Madrid (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: away win
There's always been a strange relationship between Real Madrid and Getafe, who have traditionally benefitted from Bernabeu hand-me-downs and tried last summer to borrow Borja Mayoral for the season. The canterano may be in with a shout of a start if Zinedine Zidane elects to keep Karim Benzema in reserve for Spurs next Tuesday but all eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo, who is suffering a rare drought in front of goal for Madrid but has rattled in 20 in 12 Liga games against the Azulones. Only Sevilla have suffered more at the hands of the Portuguese.
Alavés – Real Sociedad (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: away win
Alavés finally got off the mark last time out with a morale boosting victory away at Levante but the sensation lingers that this is going to be a long old season for the Basques, with Segunda their likely destination at the end of it. La Real have gone off the boil a little after a flying start to the campaign but they certainly have goals in them, hitting four against Betis in their last outing. That Betis also hit the same number suggests Alavés will at least trouble the scoreboard operator but having scored just three all season to Sociedad’s 17 the away side have to be worth backing here.
Atlético – Barcelona (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: draw
The first big gauntlet to Barcelona’s perfect start and a test for Diego Simeone’s miserly defence, who have conceded just once in their last five Liga games. However, other than a goleada in Las Palmas Atlético have been struggling to score and fired nothing but blanks at Leganés two weeks ago. Barça meanwhile have been hugely reliant on Leo Messi to do his thing, the wee magician having bagged just one shy of half of his side’s total this season. Atlético have been beaten in six of their last seven home fixtures against Saturday’s opponents but with Messi carrying his country on his shoulders and 30,000 kilometres in his legs, Luis Suárez out of form and Andrés Iniesta and Ousmane Dembélé out of action, two sides who have conceded only six between them in 14 games may find it hard to break the other down.
Eibar – Deportivo (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: draw
Neither side has been setting La Liga alight this season but what little momentum there is in Ipurua lies firmly with the visitors, who picked up their second win of the campaign before the break. Eibar on the other hand have shipped 13 goals in their last three games and sit in the bottom three. The home side will be targeting a clean sheet above else and with Depor struggling to locate the proverbial cow's rear end this one has no score draw written all over said bovine’s backside.
Girona – Villarreal (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: away win
Girona have plummeted down the table after taking four points from their opening two games while the submarine have risen from the depths, picking up 10 from their last five. A thorough roasting at Getafe aside, which brought an end to Fran Escribá’s brief reign, and Villarreal haven’t been that poor in recent weeks and should be too much for an Eibar side with the joint-worst defensive record in the division and whose two wins have been secured by a 1-0 scoreline.
Málaga – Leganés (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: draw
Málaga lie rooted to the bottom of the table with a solitary point to show from seven games and that Míchel’s side scored three to earn that was exposed as an anomaly in the last round of fixtures as Sevilla chalked up a comfortable 2-0 win. Michel has survived longer than Escribá, Luis Zubeldía and Manolo Márquez but it is surely only a matter of time and only the bold would bet against Lega deepening Málaga´s woes by at least picking up a point on the south coast.
Betis – Valencia (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: away win
There could be a few goals in the Villamarín with both sides favouring a deck-based, quick passing approach and neither possessing the most watertight of defences. It’s third versus sixth, 29 goals scored between them in the league and each manager with more or less his first choice XI available. It’s also very tricky to call but Valencia with both on a run of excellent form but Simone Zaza is unstoppable at the moment, with five in his last three, and could just make the difference against the weaker of the two back fours.
Las Palmas – Celta (Monday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Maximiliano Gómez already looks like one of the steals of the season, the Uruguayan arriving from Defensor for just four million euros and banging in six goals in seven Liga games. Unfortunately for Celta, he has also picked up five yellows in that time and will be suspended for this one with Hugo Mallo, Facundo and Pablo Hernández all out. Pako Ayestarán did not get off to a winning start but his first game, away at Camp Nou, was practically a bye and he will be eager to put on a show for the home fans in his first foray at the Estadio Gran Canaria.
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