Sevilla – Levante (Friday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Sevilla may be reeling after finding themselves on the wrong end a thrashing in the Bernabéu but Eduardo Berizzo’s side (under the temporary charge of Ernesto Marcucci) are rock solid at home where they’ve won their last for the concession of just two goals. Levante’s excellent early season form has deserted the Frogs, who have picked up four points from their last five games, and three of those were at basement side Las Palmas. Levante have a raft of injury woes and a home win looks like a banker in the Pizjuán.
Athletic – Real Sociedad (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: draw
Sociedad arrive at San Mamés with one win in their last five and on the back of consecutive defeats to Atlético and Málaga, the latter at home in front of a very unamused Anoeta crowd. Athletic are no great shakes at the moment either and in the unfamiliar position of being in 14th, although still only four points off Villarreal in the final Europa League spot. Athletic won this fixture 3-2 last season but a similar scoreline can probably be ruled out with the Lions having scored at a rate of less than a goal a game at San Mamés this season. They have though held Villarreal and Real Madrid at home in their last two and we fancy the Basque derby spoils will be shared in a low-scoring draw.
Eibar – Valencia (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: away win
Eibar’s injury problems have hampered the Gunners this season but they do have previous in shutting down Valencia, who have never scored more than once at Ipurua in Primera. In three meetings in Gipuzkoa the results have been 0-1, 1-1, and 1-0. Valencia have kindly loaned Fabián Orellana to Eibar for the rest of the season but the mercurial Chilean will play no part on Saturday as he can’t be registered until January 1. The home side are on a run of three wins and a draw while Valencia suffered their first defeat of the season on their last away outing in Getafe. It will be a close one, and while Marcelino’s side haven’t been scoring freely in the last few weeks they have too much quality for a side who have shipped 27 goals this season.
Atlético – Alavés (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Bringing in Abelardo – Alavés’ third permanent coach of 2017-18 – appears to have been a masterstroke with the former Sporting boss chalking up two wins in his first two games, which is the same number his various predecessors managed in 13. However, it took an inspired Ibai Gómez hat-trick to carve out a 3-2 win at Girona and beating Las Palmas at home was expected. A trip to the Metropolitano will be the real litmus test and unbeaten Atlético, with a full squad available, should claim this one without too much trouble.
Girona – Getafe (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: draw
An evenly matched battle between two sides already punching well above their weight is the trickiest call on the coupon this week. Girona sit in ninth and Getafe seventh and a win for either will put them in the European places at least until the 4.15 kick-off. It’s a remarkable success story for both promoted clubs, who are proving that an astute manager and plenty of team spirit can achieve as much as slinging cheques around. Girona tend to enjoy playing away more than at Montilivi, where they have picked up eight points to 12 on the road, while Geta’s home form has them in the top 10: the Azulones are firmly in the bottom half of the away form table. All things considered, a draw isn’t out of the question.
Celta – Villarreal (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: home win
This could have been a right old ding dong but Villarreal will travel to Galicia without strikers Carlos Bacca, Nicola Sansone and Cédric Bakambu, who head a lengthy list of injuries and suspensions to give Javi Calleja a headache as he seeks to arrest a run of three consecutive defeats. Celta are missing top scorer Iago Aspas and captain Hugo Mallo, who are on the naughty step after last week’s fractious affair in Mestalla. However, Celta possess LaLiga’s top assist maker in Pione Sisto and Maxi Gómez knows where the goal is.
Las Palmas – Espanyol (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: draw
There were chants of “Quique out” at Espanyol’s home defeat to Girona and you fancy the dapper doyen of some pretty awful football in recent weeks won’t be about after the winter break if he doesn’t take at least two points from Las Palmas and Atlético before then. Espanyol sit in 16th and Las Palmas are rock bottom. Both sides have the lowest goals-for total in the division with 11 each after 15 games. Neither side will want to lose this one and it could be a right old dirge in Gran Canaria.
Barcelona – Deportivo (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Two of the last three games between these sides at Camp Nou have finished 2-2 and Ernesto Valverde has issues in defence with Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano both out while Sergio Busquets and Luis Suárez are both a caution away from being suspended for the Clásico. The Barça boss may choose to make some changes but the numbers remain fairly straightforward: the leaders have scored 38 goals this season and Depor have conceded 27, more than half of them away from home.
Málaga – Betis (Monday 21:00) Prediction: home win
At the start of the season Quique Setién had Betis playing like Brazil and Míchel’s Málaga were perfectly awful, leading to speculation that the former Real midfielder would soon be sent packing. Three wins and a draw in his last six games has saved Míchel’s bacon and while Betis play some attractive stuff under ball-on-deck enthusiast Setién, results are not going their way and they last won a game at home against relegation-zone Alavés on October 21. A few days earlier, on October 15, Málaga last lost a home game. Míchel’s side are yet to concede in December and a 2-0 away win at Real Sociedad last weekend will have done wonders for morale.