Levante – Getafe (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: draw
This one was met with a series of shrugs and shaken heads in AS towers with the general consensus being it’s almost impossible to call. As Geta boss José Bordalás noted: “We both need the points.” Levante halted their downward spiral with a 0-0 draw at Espanyol last weekend but haven’t scored in three while Geta have lost their last two. There is the faintest whiff of a draw in the Levant breeze but as a disclaimer we left Saturday’s early kick off out of our weekly coupon altogether.
Betis – Alavés (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win
Betis have banged in 11 in their last three fixtures but only won one of them, which points to a bit of an issue at the back for Quique Setién’s entertainers, who have shipped 10 in their last two. That dedication to attacking football should be too much for Alavés to handle, the Basques having scored just three all season while shipping 12 at the other end. Incoming Italian schemer Gianni De Biasi has settled on a 4-1-4-1 and did oversee Alavés' only victory to date in his debut game but that was against goal-shy Levante. The Villamarín faithful are getting used to exciting football again and more of the same can be expected in Seville.
Valencia – Sevilla (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: home win
A tricky away fixture is exactly what Sevilla do not need after suffering a 5-1 drubbing at Spartak Moscow in the Champions League and Valencia are not second in the table through good fortune. Marcelino has brought the good times back to Mestalla and only a Leo Messi-inspired Barça have hit more goals so far. Simone Zaza won the Liga player of the month award for September and is in decent form and there were six different scorers, including the Italian, as Los Che dismantled Betis last time out. Sevilla will be smarting from their loss in the Russian capital and have been beaten in two of their last three in LaLiga with Eduardo Berizzo increasingly under the microscope. Valencia, unbeaten all season and without draining midweek continental football this season, will capitalize.
Barcelona – Málaga (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Míchel scored an unlikely victory over Barça last season shortly after taking over at La Rosaleda and the then-champions also dropped points on the south coast in the return fixture earlier in the season. Bu that was then. This is now and Málaga are an utter shambles, one point from eight games leaving them firmly rooted the foot of the table. Leo Messi has bagged 11 in LaLiga already. Expect him to add to that tally as The Anchovies are handed their backsides on a plate in Camp Nou.
Villarreal – Las Palmas (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: home win
The Submarine have brightened up under new boss Javi Callejo, who has led his side to victory in both of his games in charge, and the Villarreal boss’ switch to a 4-2-3-1 has brought the best out of summer signing Pablo Fornals, now playing as a number 10 instead of shunted out on the left of midfield. Cédric Bakambu hit a hat-trick against Eibar before the international break and there is the sensation that Villarreal are on a roll that will not lightly be stopped. Las Palmas also have a new man in charge after Manolo Márquez resigned but unlike his opposite number Pako Ayestarán has failed to lift the mood in Gran Canaria, his side shipping eight in two defeats since he took over. Third time lucky for the erstwhile Rafa Benítez assistant? We think not.
Celta – Atlético (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: Prediction: away win
Atlético are struggling to score goals at the moment and drew a surprising blank away at unfancied Qarabag in the Champions League in midweek. Celta have knocked in 11 in their last three Liga outings with Iago Aspas bagging a hat-trick in the 5-2 destruction of Las Palmas last weekend. However, the sides Celta have played so far were placed seventh, 19th, 18th, 18th, 14th, 14th, 13th, 17th and 17th at the time of the match and the Galicians have yet to play anyone currently in the top six. Atlético may prove to be a tough nut to crack and you fancy Diego Simeone would be delighted with a gritty 1-0 win.
Leganés – Athletic (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: draw
Leganés are sitting pretty in the European places with some not-so-sage observers before the season started tipping the Cucumber Growers for the drop. Athletic beat Sevilla at home last weekend but haven’t won an away game in LaLiga or Europe since August. The Lions’ defence was extremely suspect late on against Málaga and the probability is that José Ángel Ziganda will make some changes in Butarque with the demands of a three-fronted season already taking their toll.
Real Madrid – Eibar (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Real Madrid are out of sorts, of that there is no doubt, but the champions’ goal count is a bit of an anomaly when 59 shots on target in eight games is taken into consideration. A combination of excellent opposition goalkeeping, inaccuracy in the Real front line and the woodwork have all combined to leave Zinedine Zidane’s side in a bit of a pickle in LaLiga but the suspicion pervades that at some point it’s all going to come together and someone is going to be on the receiving end of a proper tonking. Madrid have yet to score more than three in a Liga game this season while Eibar shipped 13 before a 0-0 home draw with Depor last weekend. In their last three games, Los Armeros have mustered just three shots on target and it could be a case of trousers down, six of the best for the Basques, who have an extensive injury list to contend with as well as Cristiano and company.
Real Sociedad - Espanyol (Monday 20:00) Prediction: home win
Real Sociedad returned to winning ways last weekend against Alavés after four games without tasting victory but the visit of Espanyol will be a testing ground to see whether that was a false dawn or a corner genuinely turned after the txuri-urdin’s excellent start hit the buffers in recent weeks. Quique Sánchez Flores’ side are winless on the road this season and drew a blank against a misfiring Levante in Cornellà last time out.
Deportivo - Girona (Monday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Depor have enjoyed a slight upturn in fortunes in their last two fixtures, picking up four points in 180 minutes after managing the same return in the six games prior to that. Of their last four, Pepe Mel had led his side to two wins and a draw and they should have too much nous at home to see off a Girona side who haven’t won since August, even if Mel does have a few injury concerns.