The Madrid derby is the pick of the bunch this week but hasn't exactly been a classic of late and the Oracle fancies a draw with some struggling sides to find their feet.
Rayo – Espanyol (Friday 21:00) Prediction: Prediction: home win
Rayo were good value for a 1-1 draw until being reduced to 10 men and ultimately thrashed by Alavés but scored a valuable point midweek at Real Sociedad and can take advantage of the visiting Parakeet’s parlous return of one point on the road so far. Espanyol have a perfect home record but struggle to find the net away and Rayo are due to pick something up from a game in Vallecas.
Real Sociedad – Valencia (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: draw
Sociedad have been awful at the back recently with keeper Gerónimo Rulli guilty of a couple of costly blunders. La Real are yet to win a game at the revamped Anoeta while Valencia remain the only side in LaLiga without a win at all. These two sides have played out seven draws between them already this season and with both under the spotlight a potentially chaotic affair could yield the same result.
Barcelona – Athletic (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win
Barcelona go into Saturday’s match against Athletic having taken one point from the last six as they drew with Girona at Camp Nou and were the subjects of a Pepinazo at Butarque as Leganés scored a famous victory. Athletic should be backed to score in Camp Nou with Barça’s already shaky defence missing Samuel Umtiti and Aritz Aduriz back in business, but it’s just impossible to see the reigning Liga champions coming unstuck three times in a week. The last time that happened was two years ago when Málaga, Real Sociedad and Real Madrid held Barça to three consecutive draws.
Eibar – Sevilla (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: away win
Eibar have been strong at home so far this season but Sevilla are in a state of grace, fresh from thumping Real Madrid 3-0 after a 6-2 victory over Levante and a 5-1 drubbing of Standard Liege. André Silva is the current Liga Pichichi with six goals and Wissam Ben Yedder isn’t far behind with four. Pablo Machín has Sevilla purring and on current form The Gunners’ sterling record at Ipurua stands to be severely scratched on Saturday.
Real Madrid – Atlético (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: Prediction: draw
The Madrid derby has not been a scintillating affair recently, the last three fixtures between the capital city antagonists ending 1-1, 0-0 and 1-1. The Bernabéu will be on the backs of the home side pretty swiftly after the drubbing they received in Seville and with Diego Costa and Sergio Ramos renewing acquaintances it will be as fractious an affair as ever but quite possibly a little shy on the goals front. The BBA have only managed five between them against Atlético and while Antoine Griezmann knows where Madrid’s goal is located he has hardly been in excellent form this season, scoring just twice in all competitions. Madrid haven’t won the derby at home in five attempts and under the circumstances Julen Lopetegui will consider avoiding defeat a job well done.
Huesca – Girona (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: draw
The Sunday early kick-off has a draw written all over it with Huesca desperate to get off the mark at home, where Leo Franco’s side are yet to even find the net. Girona have conceded a few but three of their games have involved one goal or less and it’s difficult to see too many being rattled in at El Alcoraz as Huesca seek to shut up shop and earn at least a point ahead of next week’s trip to their newly promoted peers Valladolid.
Villarreal – Real Valladolid (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: home win
One of many sides that didn’t exactly get off to a flier, Villarreal may have turned a corner by stuffing Athletic at San Mamés for their second win of the season. It was also the first time the Submarine had managed more than one goal in a game so far and Pablo Fornals was excellent against the Lions. Valladolid have had a decent week as well, scoring five in a draw and a victory to get their season on track having failed to find the net in their opening four games and there may be a few goals in the Cerámica, but the home side’s greater experience and firepower may be too much for the newly promoted Pucelanos.
Levante – Alavés (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Alavés are flying high while Levante are in a bit of a slump, the Paco López effect suddenly failing to get the Frogs jumping as they did so spectacularly at the end of last season. The loan of Ivi was a bit of a head-scratcher and Jefferson Lerma left for a club record sale but the core of Levante’s epic escape – which included that famous 5-4 win over Barcelona – remains and López hasn’t become a bad coach overnight whatever the results say. El Glorioso must surely hit the rocks somewhere and with López under serious scrutiny he needs a home win here.
Betis – Leganés (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Betis have been steadily climbing the table and are unbeaten in their last five outings, even if goals are still at a premium. The Cucumber Growers will be buzzing with confidence after knocking off champions Barcelona at home but their away form has been dreadful, with three defeats on the road and just two goals scored. Quique Setién’s side are finding their form and may just blow Leganés away in the Villamarín.
Celta – Getafe (Monday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Iago Aspas is worth his weight in gold to Celta and is scoring at a rate of just under a goal a game in LaLiga this season. The Spain international has found the net in four consecutive weeks, hitting a brace against Valladolid and another at Mestalla to rescue a point for his side. Getafe have been a model of consistency this season, winning two, drawing two and losing two with five goals going in at either end. It will be a fairly close one in Balaídos but Aspas is in electric form and can be backed to make the difference.