Primera División predictions 2017-18, week 17
The Oracle is not sure about Quique Sánchez's Flores chances of lasting past Christmas and predicts a not too-white festive Clásico in the Bernabéu.
Levante – Leganés (Tuesday 21:30) Prediction: draw
Levante’s position in the table is a little misleading and Juan Muñiz has made his side extremely hard to beat. The Frogs have chalked up eight draws this season, more than any side in the division, and have only been on the end of two hidings while conceding fewer than three teams currently in the top 10. Leganés have not been travelling well recently and will be happy enough with a point in the Ciutat de Valencia after four consecutive losses on the road.
Getafe – Las Palmas (Wednesday 19:30) Prediction: home win
Las Palmas have enjoyed a mini-rally under new boss Paquito Ortiz and came from two down to claim a point at home against Espanyol last weekend. However, Getafe have won four and drawn one of their last six in the Coliseum to move into the top 10 and are basing their first season back in the top flight almost exclusively on their home form, having won once on the road in 2017-18. Las Palmas have fared little better, picking up one point on their travels since their only away win of the season on September 11.
Real Sociedad – Sevilla (Wednesday 21:30) Prediction: draw
Sevilla are struggling to find the net despite their attacking options and drew another blank in the Sánchez Pizjuán last Friday against Getafe after being on the wrong end of a five-goal drubbing in the Bernabéu a week earlier. Real Sociedad are also in a bit of a slump, without a win in five and without a goal in their last two, the nadir being a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Málaga. Sevilla remain unbeaten at home while Sociedad tend to travel better than they perform at Anoeta so anything is possible but a low-scoring draw gets our vote.
Eibar – Girona (Thursday 19:30) Prediction: draw
Girona are enjoying an incredible first-ever season in the top flight and sit proudly in seventh, a point off the European places, after yet another Cristhian Stuani goal saw off Getafe at Montilivi last weekend. The well-travelled journeyman has nine in 14 appearances this season and is third in the Pichichi table behind Simone Zaza and Leo Messi. Eibar though are on a decent run of their own, with four wins in their last five capped by a 2-1 home defeat of Valencia that fired the Gunners into the top 10. Two points separate the sides and there probably won’t be much between them on the Ipurua turf.
Alavés – Málaga (Thursday 21:30) Prediction: home win
New manager bounce has dragged Alavés to within a win of exiting the drop zone for the first time since the opening weekend. Abelardo has a long history of wringing the best out of what he has at his disposal and two wins from three, the loss being a 1-0 defeat at Atlético that was basically a free hit, has transformed the vibe in Vitoria. By contrast, Málaga boss Míchel tends to bemoan what he hasn’t got and is very much a manager who blows with the wind. Defeat to Betis last time out was unexpected at La Rosaleda and on current morale a narrow home win seems the most likely outcome.
Betis – Athletic (Friday 19:30) Prediction: home win
That win in La Rosaleda gave Quique Setién a bit of breathing space after a run of six games without a win and the visit of Athletic hands Betis a decent chance of consolidating their top 10 place before the winter break. The Lions’ away form has picked up after a run of two points in six games with a draw at Depor and victory at Levante and Cuco Ziganda’s side remain more potent on the road but with Joaquín pulling the strings the home side should win this one, albeit by a very tight margin.
Espanyol – Atlético (Friday 21:30) Prediction: away win
Quique Sánchez Flores is skating on very thin ice and the Espanyol support have been vocal in their disapproval of the dapper Spaniard’s management in recent weeks. Throwing away a two-goal lead at Las Palmas won’t improve the mood in Cornellà and the suspicion is that unless the Espanyol boss pulls off something special against his former employers he may be looking for a new one in January. Atlético have moved into second place in the table, remain one of only three unbeaten sides in Europe’s five biggest leagues and have scored more than double the number of goals they have managed at home while on their travels. It doesn’t bode well for Quique.
Real Madrid – Barcelona (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: draw
El Clásico threw up a bit of a, well, classic last time the sides met in the league. The venue was the Bernabéu, the score was 2-2 and Leo Messi popped up with the last kick of the game to seal victory, prompting his rather splendid holding-the-shirt-aloft celebration. There will be a few goals in Chamartín we feel; four to be exact, shared equally between the combatants. And it may be worth a side bet on Casemiro to finally be shown the first red card of his career after his tightrope walking in recent weeks.
Valencia – Villarreal (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win
Valencia’s title challenge has suffered a bit of a setback with consecutive away defeats at Getafe and Eibar but Marcelino’s men remain rock solid in Mestalla, winning six of eight and holding Barcelona and Atlético to draws. The Submarine will welcome back Cédric Bakambu after a one-game ban and Javi Calleja arrested a slide of three defeats with a smash and grab in Balaídos last weekend but Valencia have conceded just four at home this season and Marcelino will be acutely aware that victory is essential with one or both of Barça and Madrid dropping points immediately before kick-off.
Deportivo – Celta (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: draw
The Galician derby has been pretty even in recent years with Depor claiming the spoils eight times to Celta’s nine. During that period there have been only two draws, both at Balaídos, and given Depor’s current predicament you suspect the home side will be happy enough with that result in Riazor. Cristobál Parralo is not averse to playing a five-man midfield and Depor are unlikely to be too expansive with the prospect of defeat and an Alavés victory leaving them out of the relegation zone on head-to-head results only. That would not make for a very happy Christmas in Vigo and could bring the caretaker manager’s tenure to an end.
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