Primera predictions week 11: LaLiga 2017-18
The Oracle, after a bit of a shocker last week, foresees few surprises in the top flight this weekend with Barça and Real at home and Atlético down for another stalemate.
Betis – Getafe (Friday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Getafe are the very epitome of a mid-table side so far this season, with three wins, three draws, four losses, 13 scored and 11 conceded. The Azulones are only four points adrift of Betis in eighth after Quique Setién’s recent rock and roll football came up against his namesake Sánchez Flores’ pragmatism in Cornellà last weekend. That should not matter in the Villamarín though where Betis have won four of five and even managed to score three times in their sole home defeat against Valencia.
Valencia – Leganés (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: home win
Valencia have emerged as genuine title contenders under the orders of the wily Marcelino and in Simone Zaza and Gonçalo Guedes possess two of LaLiga’s most in-form players. Zaza will match a seven-decades old scoring record if he finds the net against Leganés while the opportunity to move to within a point of Barcelona will provide plenty of motivation for Los Che. Leganés have been good value on the road this season but will struggle to contain a side who have scored 23 times in six consecutive Liga victories.
Deportivo – Atlético (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: draw
It’s all doom and gloom at Atlético after an insipid draw against Qarabag all but ended the Rojiblancos’ chances of getting out of a tricky Champions League group. Diego Simeone’s side are barely recognizable at the moment, are not scoring goals or defending set pieces particularly well and in real danger of finding their season over and done with before the winter break. Depor picked up a valuable win on the road in Cristobál Parralo’s first game in charge and unless Antoine Griezmann relocates his scoring boots in Riazor there could be another setback for Simeone’s men in Galicia.
Alavés – Espanyol (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: draw
Alavés have managed just one win all season and have scored four goals in 10 Liga games. Gianni Di Biasi, the Basque side’s third coach of the campaign, guided El Glorioso to victory in his inaugural match but his side have been anything but since then, losing three on the trot. However, Alavés did make life difficult for Valencia last weekend at the Mendizorrotza as Di Biasi’s 3-5-2 provided a stout defence and if the Italian opts for the same remedy on Saturday Espanyol could struggle to break them down: Quique Sánchez Flores’ side are yet to win on the road and have only scored twice in five games outside Cornellà.
Barcelona – Sevilla (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has a growing injury list to contend with and watched his side fail to score for the first time this season against Olympiacos in midweek. At the same time, Sevilla breathed new life into their season with a gritty 2-1 victory over Spartak Moscow to alleviate some of the pressure building on Eduardo Berizzo after an underwhelming campaign so far and the Andalusian side’s last Liga outing brought victory by the same scoreline against Leganés. However, both those games were played at the Sánchez Pizjuán. Camp Nou is a different prospect and Leo Messi does enjoy playing Sevilla: the Argentinean has scored 23 in 21 Liga games against Saturday’s opposition, which also marks his 600th appearance for Barcelona.
Levante – Girona (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: draw
Girona scored the shock of the season last weekend by beating Real Madrid in the first-ever meeting between the sides but travel to play more familiar opposition in the form of The Frogs. In Segunda last season both sides enjoyed a 2-1 victory at the other’s expense, which in Girona’s case marked their only three points against Levante over their last five meetings. The victory over Real was a second consecutive win for Pablo Machín’s side but the suspicion is that after achieving the impossible over the reigning champions it will be back down to earth at the Cuitat de Valencia against a side who have chalked up the highest number of draws in the division this season.
Celta – Athletic (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: home win
Both sides have lost their last two Liga outings and occupy 14th and 15th in the table respectively, which did make us double check we were looking at the right ranking. Identical records of three wins, two draws and five losses and the number of historical draws between the Basques and Galicians suggest a stalemate but Athletic are struggling to find the net, had a Europa League game on Thursday and look a little light in midfield in the absence of Beñat. Celta have not won this fixture in Balaídos since 2003 but we fancy them to nick it by a single goal on Sunday.
Real Sociedad – Eibar (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Eibar are in deep trouble and have shipped 15 of their 22 goals on the road. Real Sociedad have scored 21 times in LaLiga and although they have been vulnerable at home this season the txuri-urdin will be buoyed by netting three in the Europa League victory over Varda at Anoeta that practically ensured their progress to the knock-out stages and should carry that form into a match against a side who have scored twice away from home so far.
Villarreal – Málaga (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win
The Yellow Submarine are on an upward curve under new boss Javier Callejo, who is unbeaten in four and has failed only once to claim all three points, against Atlético at the Metropolitano last weekend. Eibar, Girona and Las Palmas are hardly the sternest test of a new Primera manager’s mettle but it is than bracket that Málaga find themselves after a rancid start to the season that reaped one point in nine games. Míchel arrested that slide last week with victory over Celta but with Cédric Bakambu and Carlos Bacca in scoring mood it will be business as usual for the visitors.
Real Madrid – Las Palmas (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Zinedine Zidane said after defeat against Tottenham, his side’s second in a week, that there is no crisis at Real Madrid. Others would disagree with Real eight points adrift of Barça – a mountain Los Blancos have never failed to climb in a Liga title race – and four behind Valencia but it is not just results that are gnawing at the Bernabéu faithful. Real are playing some dreadful football and few, if any, players have carried last season’s form into the new campaign. Put simply, Zidane has to win this one or question marks about his continued employment will be raised during the international break. Fail to do so and the C-word will feature prominently in Monday’s headlines.