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LaLiga Santander

Primera División predictions: LaLiga 2018-19 week 3

Only nine games for the AS Oracle to decide upon this week and with Real Madrid and Barça seen as simple home wins, we could all be in the Bahamas by Tuesday.

Primera División predictions: LaLiga 2018-19 week 3

LaLiga is back! It's only been away from us for four days but, boy, did we miss it. And Friday evening kicks Matchday 3 off with three, yes, tres fixtures. Want to know how they're all going to turn out? Here's the AS Oracle's view on all nine matches...and how often is our super soothsayer wrong!?

Getafe – Valladolid (Friday 20:00) Prediction: draw

Both Getafe and Valladolid have started the season solidly at the back. The Madrid-based side have only conceded to their more illustrious neighbours while the newly promoted Pucelanos have only been beaten by the reigning champions and managed to keep Leo Messi at bay for 90 minutes. On such foundations are survival seasons based and while Getafe have the slight edge the visitors will be eyeing games like this as valuable away points and another successful rearguard action shouldn’t be ruled out in one that may be of interest only to defensive purists.

Eibar – Real Sociedad (Friday 22:00) Prediction: away win

The “miracle of Eibar” seems to have temporarily upped sticks in favour of nearby Huesca and the Basques find themselves in 19th only by dint of a single goal advantage over fellow strugglers Rayo. Sociedad meanwhile are doing what Sociedad always do: scoring and conceding freely with seven across both ends in 180 league minutes. Willian José has started in style and while Eibar may add to their solitary league strike the likelihood is that Asier Garitano’s side will manage one more than the hosts do, if they hit the net at all.

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Villarreal – Girona (Friday 22:00) Prediction: home win

The Submarine haven’t exactly come flying out of the dock but aren’t giving much away either and a tight affair at the Cerámica is on the cards. Girona went toe-to-toe with Madrid at the Bernabéu last time out and rattled the European champions in the opening half before being outclassed and Eusebio may well set up with a more conservative formation. However, the home side have enough firepower to counter whatever the visitors can conjure at the back.

Rayo – Athletic (Saturday 18:30) Game postponed

Celta – Atlético (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: draw

Atlético have enjoyed their trips to Balaídos in recent seasons, winning three on the bounce in Vigo – away days that have increasingly become as much a scouting mission as a game of football for Diego Simeone. Familiar faces will be the ones of most concern for the Atlético manager, Maxo Gómez and Pione Sisto already at their defence-tormenting best. Iago Aspas will be particularly motivated having been left out of Luis Enrique’s inaugural Spain squad and with the visitors struggling for goals Simeone may have to settle for a point against the side immediately above him in the table.

Real Madrid – Leganés (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win

The Cucumber Growers dumped Madrid out of the Copa del Rey last season in one of the club’s greatest historical feats but they have yet to beat the European Champions in four attempts in the league since their promotion two years ago. Julen Lopetegui’s side top LaLiga after two games and although the former Spain coach has wrinkles at the back to iron out the early signs in attack are that he has found a formula to squeeze the best out of Gareth Bale, who has two goals and an assist to his name. Real were irresistible going forward in the second half against Girona and if Lopetegui can coax anything similar out of his side over the 90 on Saturday evening Leganés - who have conceded four already despite a defensive formation in their opening two - could be in for a bit of a shellacking.

Will Madrid's new number 7 get a chance to impress?
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Will Madrid's new number 7 get a chance to impress?RAFA APARICIODIARIO AS

Levante – Valencia (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: home win

Having hailed Paco López as a tactical guru last week it was inevitable that the Levante boss would drop the ball against Celta. Switching from the tried and tested 4-4-2 that secured survival last season in favour of a lone striker with three in support was a ploy he recognised as flawed, resulting in the substitution of the entire three in his 4-2-3-1 in search of a response to going 2-0 down. It partially worked but wasn’t enough to salvage a point. The derby will be a different story and Valencia have started poorly enough for López to be confident of victory: Marcelino’s side have scored just one so far and did not look like a Champions League side in defeat at Espanyol last weekend.

Alavés – Espanyol (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: away win

It’s a shame Spanish fans don’t really do chants because the Kaiser Chief’s “Ruby, Ruby, Ruby” would be fitting at the moment: Rubi really does know what he’s doing, after two games at least. The man who brought Huesca up for the first time now has Espanyol in the top four and a squad lacking star names playing like European challengers. Losing Gerard Moreno might have sunk a side that were entirely reliant on one player for goals last season but the Parakeets are buoyant and will be eyeing a toothless Alavés as another three points in the bag.

Barcelona – Huesca (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win

Rubi laid the foundations for Huesca’s first Primera campaign but former Atlético stopper Leo Franco has built on them after being appointed manager last May at the club where he hung up his gloves. Victory over Eibar and a stirring draw against Athletic have reaped four goals and a berth in the European places but the Aragonese side have looked vulnerable at the back. Barcelona had a rare weekend off from rattling in goals at will at Valladolid but back at Camp Nou with no injury concerns up front Huesca can expect to be given a torrid time in their first dust-up against one of the big boys.

Lionel Messi already looking forward to the following week.
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Lionel Messi already looking forward to the following week.SUSANA VERAREUTERS

Betis – Sevilla (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: draw

Vincenzo Montella was handed a baptism of fire last January when he took over at Sevilla. His opening fixture was the derby and Betis cracked five past his side in the Sánchez Pizjuán in one of the games of the season. Joaquín Caparrós prevented the ignominy of a double for the green-and-white half of the city in the return fixture and now it falls to Pablo Machin to redress the balance. Betis haven’t won a derby at home since 2006 and currently sit in 18th while Sevilla are up in third but form, history and everything else goes out of the window when these two lock horns. Quique Setién is obliged to attack at home and Machin’s side have racked up 36 shots in their opening two games. There could be a few goals in this one and a high-scoring draw isn’t out of the question.


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