Primera División predictions week 13: LaLiga 2017-18
The Oracle is going all out for a bit of a surprise at Mestalla as Valencia host Barça and more away day woe for Atlético at Levante.
Celta – Leganés (Friday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Leganés had been on an extraordinary run until coming up against Sevilla, Valencia and Barcelona but have still only conceded 11 goals this season and eight of those were against the aforementioned sides. Celta have been rattling them in in recent weeks – even if that has not necessarily translated into victories - and Iago Aspas bagged a hat-trick against Las Palmas to kick start his season and has five in his last six. The Cucumber Growers are not finding the net regularly – only two sides have scored fewer – and a narrow home win looks the obvious punt in Balaídos.
Alavés – Eibar (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: away win
The Gunners’ annihilation of Betis last weekend will have dried their powder no end and the possibility that they'll ride a wave of renewed optimism into Mendizorrotza against a side languishing in the relegation zone is fairly high. Alavés have been beaten five times in Vitoria and have scored only six all season.
Real Madrid – Málaga (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win
The battle for third place is hotting up with Madrid ahead of Atlétco on goal difference only. Zinedine Zidane's side have struggled at home this season but have won their last three to steady the ship a little and knocked six past a fairly limited Apoel in midweek. Míchel has plenty of reasons to gee up his troops in the Bernabéu after a bit of a falling out with the hierarchy back in the day and the former “Quinta del Buitre” midfielder has dragged his side off the foot of the table with two wins in three. An early goal will be key for the home side to quell any frayed nerves in the stands. If Málaga can hold until the hour mark things might get interesting but it's a bit of a stretch to see Zidane's side slipping up against a team that have lost all six on the road and have yet to score outside La Rosaleda.
Betis – Girona (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Betis will be smarting from last week's drubbing at Eibar and Quique Setién could do with a win to consolidate his side in the top 10 after picking up just one point from his last three games. Girona continue to astound on such a meagre budget, reaping 10 points from a possible 12 since their last loss, and although Muniz’s cupboard is well stocked with Manchester city loanees it is veteran journeyman Cristhian Stuani who is banging them in with seven in 10 games and five in his last five. Keeping the Uruguayan quiet will be Betis’ primary task and Setién will then look to a little magic from Tonny Sanabria and Sergio León up front.
Levante – Atlético (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: draw
Atleti’s victory over Roma in midweek kept their slim chances of Champions League football in the new year alive but in LaLiga the horse has pretty much bolted and it's not yet December. A trip to Levante is the last thing Diego Simeone will fancy with The Frogs proving a tricky customer over the past few seasons. Two victories and two draws are Levante’s return in Atlético’s last four visits and it's not difficult to envisage normal service being resumed on Saturday with Simeone’s side chalking up six draws already this campaign.
Deportivo – Athletic (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: draw
Athletic were excellent against Hertha Berlin in the Europa league but have generally found it hard to balance the demands of continental and domestic action, picking up zero points in their four Liga fixtures after a Thursday night game. Depor rallied briefly under new boss Cristobal Parralo but new manager bounce has fallen flat in their last two. Athletic are rotten away and Depor equally poor at home. This one has all the hallmarks of being a bit of a slog for both sides and a no score draw shouldn’t be ruled out.
Real Sociedad – Las Palmas (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: home win
Despite Sociedad’s own midweek exertions the txuri-urdin should walk this against the side currently propping up the division. Pako Ayestaran’s position is so precarious that the Spanish sports dailies have already started guessing who his successor will be and the mood around the Estadio de Gran Canaria is about as buoyant as the millstone around the club manager’s neck. Another defeat will probably do it for the Pak man and Juan Antonio Pizzi could be behind door number one of Las Palmas honcho Miguel Ángel Ramírez’s advent calendar. Potentially three managers before Christmas, eight consecutive defeats and 30 goals conceded is evidence of a club sinking without trace.
Villarreal – Sevilla (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: Prediction: draw
Sevilla’s season was played out in microcosm against Liverpool in midweek. Three goals conceded in 45 minutes and three scored in the next 45. A rate of one a game on average in LaLiga isn’t terrible by any means but Valencia showed last month what can happen when Sevilla have one of those days. Villarreal are unbeaten under Javi Calleja and have found the net in every game since he took over so we rather fancy a score draw is on the cards in Vila-real.
The top two go head to head in Mestalla where the chops attached to Marcelino’s title tilt will be put under examination. Four of the last five meetings between the sides in Valencia have ended either 1-1 or 2-3 and neither of those results would be a huge surprise on Sunday. However, given Barcelona’s reliance on Leo Messi’s goals - the Argentinean was half-rested for this one in the 0-0 draw in Turin - the visitors having only two available central defenders and Valencia having popped in 32 goals with six different players on three or more and we're going to plump for five to be shared out again, but with Marcelino finally coming out on top against the leaders.
Espanyol – Getafe (Monday 21:00) Prediction: draw
The Monday night game once again delivers a potential cracker as Espanyol (four draws) host Getafe (four draws) in a game that does not scream goals. Geta have found the net considerably more regularly with 19 to Espanyol’s nine but all of the Azulones’ stalemates have been outside the Coliseum and we fancy they’ll dance to similar tune against a side whose home form is keeping them above the mire.
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