The Oracle is back after a pre-international break drubbing and tipping Real Madrid to break their recent poor run but Barça's to continue against leaders Sevilla.
Celta – Alavés (Friday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Alavés’ last outing was a famous 1-0 home victory over Real Madrid but a more accurate gauge of El Glorioso’s position is their away form. Two defeats on the road and a 1-0 win at Valladolid were embellished slightly by a 5-1 drubbing of 10-man Rayo but and while Celta remain undefeated at home the Galicians have struggled to turn draws into wins despite the third-highest goals for tally in the division. Iago Aspas and co will fancy their chances of adding a few at home.
Real Madrid – Levante (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: home win
Julen Lopetegui said on Friday that he has the “full backing” of the board as Real lurch from defeat to defeat but that will not last past Saturday lunchtime if he does not carve out a positive result against The Frogs. The Real boss will have Marcelo and Gareth Bale available again and against the third-leakiest defence in the division a goleada will be demanded. Anything less may see Lopetegui seeking new employment before the weekend is out.
Valencia – Leganés (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win
The Cucumber Growers are in a spot of bother at the foot of the table but not out of touch with the sides above them and while they would like to put some daylight between themselves and Rayo and Huesca a trip to Mestalla with Marcelino under scrutiny is not the ideal re-start to the season for the Madrid side. Valencia are in desperate need of a victory and Marcelino will be keenly aware that failure to beat a side 18th in the division at home will see the white hankies out in force.
Villarreal – Atlético (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: away win
1-0 to the Atlético hasn’t caught on as a Metropolitano favourite but much like the Arsenal side that made that chant famous Diego Simeone is no stranger to grinding out a result on a potentially tricky away day. The Submarine are in danger of sinking into the relegation spots and will be up for a scrap but if Atlético are to challenge for the title this is the sort of game where their credentials must be presented. Two 1-0s, two 1-1s and a 0-0 are evidence of Atleti’s struggled in front of goal this season – epitomized by Diego Costa, who hasn’t scored since the Pleistocene and may miss this one with a hamstring problem – and Simeone will settle for a narrow one in the Cerámica.
Barcelona – Sevilla (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: draw
Barcelona are down to just two fit senior central defenders, and one of those is the under-fire Gerard Piqué whose performances of late have been far from reassuring for Culés. Ernesto Valverde’s side haven’t won in four league games and are also missing Luis Suárez for the visit of the leaders, who have in their ranks the on-fire André Silva and Wissam Ben Yedder, who have seven and five in domestically in eight games. Barça and Sevilla lead the scoring stakes in the division with 19 and 18 each and a high-scoring, edge of the seat draw shouldn’t be ruled out in Camp Nou.
Rayo – Getafe (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: Prediction: draw
Sunday’s early kick-off may not be one to get the blood pumping as 19th-placed Rayo host Getafe, who are in 13th. A total of 13 goals between them so far this season suggests a tight one in Vallecas and while Geta are fairly solid at home their away form has been patchy. Rayo, meanwhile, will see anything other than defeat as a positive as they seek to add to the five points accrued to this point, which extrapolated from here until May will not be enough to stay up.
Eibar – Athletic (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: home win
Athletic finished in 16th last season, which was enough for Cuco Ziganda to get the boot, and are now in 17th with just a solitary win in 2018-19. The Lions’ form will have Eduardo Berizzo fretting ahead of the short trip to Ipurua, where Eibar mugged their other Basque rivals, Sociedad, a few weeks ago. Neither side are scoring freely and bot have porous defences so this may be one for the purists as both sides will be eager not to give anything away cheaply.
Huesca – Espanyol (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: away win
Huesca are bottom of the table on goal difference and parted company with Leo Franco after just eight games in a bid to alter the dynamic, but in reality his replacement Francisco faces an uphill battle to finish outside the bottom three come May. The Parakeets are flying high in fifth but have yet to score an away win, a statistic that is likely to change in El Alcoraz.
Betis – Valladolid (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Of the promoted sides Valladolid have been the surprise package this season, chalking up three wins and three draws to leave them just outside the European places. Unbeaten on the road, the Pucelanos face a Betis side who have scored more than once on only one occasion this season. The past five games involving these two this season have all ended 1-0 and Quique Setién will settle for that in a game where goals will be at a premium.
Real Sociedad – Girona (Monday 21:00) Prediction: home win
La Real are without a home win this season in the remodelled Anoeta and the home faithful will be eager to see that change against Girona, who are in the unusual position of possessing the league’s top scorer while only winning two games this season and none of their last four. We wouldn’t bet against Cristhian Stuani finding the back of the net on Monday but the home side will be in confident mood after knocking off Athletic in San Mamés before the international break.