Primera División predictions: LaLiga 2018-19 week five
The Valencia derby, Betis vs Athletic and Getafe against Atlético are the games to keep an eye on as the Oracle casts his over the latest round of Liga action.
Huesca – Real Sociedad (Friday 21:00) Prediction: away win
Huesca’s eye-catching start to the season has come off the rails somewhat with a heavy defeat to Barcelona and an extremely narrow one at home to direct rivals Rayo last weekend and player for player La Real have a good deal more quality throughout their squad and a more experienced tactician in Eusebio. That said, Huesca won’t make it easy for any visitors to El Alcoraz and Sociedad may not walk away with a convincing victory, but they should be considered favourites to sneak off with three points.
Rayo – Alavés (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: Prediction: home win
Rayo picked up three unlikely away points last weekend and have to build on that momentum to put some daylight between the relegation zone and their immediate challengers for survival. Alavés certainly fit that bill although El Glorioso also nicked a win at Valladolid to give themselves a boost. The Vallecas Stadium has finally been cleared to host games and a vociferous home support should see Rayo over line in a game that won't be a goal-fest.
Eibar – Leganés (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: draw
Leganés will be smarting from their last outing, when a missed penalty and a rightly disallowed goal permitted Villarreal to pull off a smash and grab for the Submarine’s first win of the season. Eibar blow hot and cold, home and away, and will struggle to break down the Cucumber Growers, who will try and keep it tight at the back after conceding nine so far and hit on the break. This is unlikely to be a classic and onion bag-bothering may be at a premium.
Celta – Valladolid (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win
Four games in and Primera returnees Valladolid have still yet to score a goal. Defensively, the Pucelanos are in excellent shape and have conceded only twice, both coming in 1-0 defeats at the José Zorrilla. Away from home, Girona and Getafe have failed to make a dent in Sergio González’s back line but you suspect Iago Aspas may be the man to break that fine record in Balaídos. Valladolid have managed three wins in 28 attempts at Celta’s stadium and will struggle to improve that statistic if they continue to fire blanks at the business end.
Getafe – Atlético (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: away win
Getafe pulled off the result of round four at Sevilla last week and are a tricky prospect for Diego Simeone’s side, who are at a low ebb in la Liga. A champions league victory away at Monaco will have restored some confidence and only the brilliance of Marko Dmitrovic kept the scores level when Eibar visited the Metropolitano but Simeone will be acutely aware that a title challenge - with arguably the strongest squad of his entire Atleti tenure - is in danger of being derailed before the leaves turn. Diego Costa finally found the net against Monaco and this is a game designed for the uncompromising forward. Much of Atleti’s recent success has been built on grinding out 1-0s away from home and that is exactly what Simeone requires on Saturday.
Real Madrid – Espanyol (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Espanyol’s bright start to the season under Rubi has the Parakeets nesting in the Champions League places but the visitors to the Bernabéu on Saturday evening have rarely enjoyed success in the capital when faced with Madrid. The last time Espanyol earned a point was back in 2012 and you have dip considerably further into the archives to find their last victory, a 2-1 win in 1996. The last meeting between the sides ended 1-0 to Espanyol but the shadow of the Bernabéu seems to cast an impenetrable veil over the Parakeets’ ambition and a home victory seems all-but assured given the form of Real’s attack.
Levante – Sevilla (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: Prediction: draw
Sevilla recovered from an unforeseen defeat at home against Getafe by knocking five past Standard Liege midweek with Éver Banega and Wissam Ben Yedder each bagging a brace. In LaLiga, Pablo Machín’s side have been struggling somewhat, scoring only four in four and sitting 12th after one win during that run. Levante are only a place better off than their visitors with the same record and a few defensive issues as Paco López’s extraordinary result-making has hit a little bit of a buffer and sharing the spoils in the Ciutat de Valencia wouldn’t be viewed as a terrible outcome by either side.
Villarreal – Valencia (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: home win
It’s been six seasons since the Valencia derby ended in a draw in the Submarine’s back yard and both sides are hardly enjoying the finest starts to the season. Valencia are in 17th and about five minutes away from a full-blown crisis after failing to take advantage of 60 minutes against 10-man Juve in the Champions League. Villarreal are 14th and have only scored twice in LaLiga while twice surrendering a lead against Rangers in midweek. It’ll either be 3-3 or 1-0, and we’re going to plump for the former, with the home side edging it.
Betis – Athletic (Sunday 20:00) Prediction: draw
Betis and the back of the net have suddenly become perfect strangers in contrast to last season when Quique Setién’s side were banging them in in spades. The Verdiblancos have managed just one in four league games and drew another blank away at Olympiacos in their Europa League opener while Athletic have plundered five and remain unbeaten thus far. The home side are likely to make some changes for the visit of the Lions, who have won three of their last five in the Villamarín, and Setién will be happy enough with a score draw under the circumstances.
Barcelona – Girona (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Barcelona boast the only perfect record in Primera after four games and have rattled in 14 domestically and four in Europe this season, with Leo Messi helping himself to seven already. Girona are flying high in sixth after beating Celta 3-2 last weekend and have managed two clean sheets but it’s hard to argue with the bookies on this one, with Barça at odds so short you’d have to stump six months’ salary on a home win to bag the price of a hot dog at Camp Nou.