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LaLiga matchday 15: Primera predictions

LaLiga matchday 15: Primera predictions

Quique García

EFE

Espanyol host Barcelona in the Catalan derby, Valencia and Sevilla meet on Saturday afternoon and Real Madrid travel to Huesca. Here's what's going to happen in LaLiga this weekend. Maybe.

Leganés - Getafe (Friday 21:00) Prediction: draw

The Cucumber Growers put some distance between themselves and the bottom three with a 4-2 drubbing of Valladolid last weekend and have now gone four games unbeaten and won three of their last four at home. Geta have also profited from their away games this season, winning two and drawing four of seven on the road. All of those points picked up in stalemates have been 1-1 and with Lega failing to score more than once in three at Butarque that scoreline sounds about right in Friday's opener.

Atlético - Alavés (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: home win

Atlético have drawn an incredible six games this season 1-1 and have scored more than two just twice, although both of those came at the Metropolitano. Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann are still struggling for goals and Atlético needed a hand from Jonas Ramalho to secure the latest in that run of 1-1s away at Girona last time out but should be considered firm favourites at home against Alavés, who have conspired to lose their last two away games against Eibar and Leganés to put a dent in their early-season charge to the top of the table. It won't be a classic, but Atleti should limp over the line.

Valencia - Sevilla (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: draw

One of Spain's mini-Clásicos finds Sevilla a point behind leaders Barcelona and with six more goals on the road than any side in the division and Marcelino's side seeing their recent revival dented by Real Madrid to leave them firmly in the wrong half of the table. The home side have plenty of firepower when fit but will probably be missing Spain striker Rodrigo for this one, leaving Gonçalo Guedes and Santi Mina to do what they can. Only Barça have knocked more in than Sevilla this season and there could be a few goals in Mestalla but Valencia's home record does not make for merry reading for fans of Los Che, who will be happy enough to see their side avoid defeat.

Villarreal - Celta (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: home win

Two sides who have been as unpredictable as a drunk monkey with a machine gun this season meet in La Cerámica, with Miguel Cardoso now in charge of the visitors after the scattergun approach of Antonio Mohamed was holstered by Celta. Villarreal have improved in recent weeks and kept out of the relegation mire but against fairly compliant or distracted opposition. The visit of Celta will be a decent litmus test for Javi Calleja of his side's current whereabouts and given Celta's away form - the Galicians haven't won outside Balaídos since August - it will only take an off-day from Iago Aspas to get the Submarine chugging towards calmer mid-table waters.

Espanyol - Barcelona (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: away win

"Derbies are played with the heart, not with the head," noted Ernesto Valverde ahead of his side's trip to the RCDE but Espanyol haven't been better placed to use theirs to orchestrate victory since Mauricio Pochettino stopped Pep Guardiola's tiki-taka merchants in their tracks a few weeks after taking over back in 2009. That was the last time the Parakeets beat their cross-city rivals and they haven't won at home since 2007 but Rubi has his side ticking over like a Swiss clock and Barça won't have it easy on Saturday night. The visitors will, though, have Leo Messi, which is usually enough: the Argentinean has 21 goals and 10 assists in 26 games against Espanyol.

Eibar - Levante (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: draw

Levante embellished their league position with a 3-0 home trouncing of an Athletic side in complete disarray last weekend but won't find anything wrapped under the tree in the Basque Country as they travel to Ipurua. The Frogs are a tough proposition on the road, picking up more points away than at home this season, while the Gunners suffered a bit of a hangover from turning the European champions over in losing 1-0 away at Rayo. Both will be looking for a crack in the other's armour but Levante's more accurate acquaintance with the onion bag this season suggests a score draw may be the goer.

Huesca - Real Madrid (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: away win

Whichever way you cut it - and those looking for ways to paint Santiago Solari as the second coming of Miguel Muñoz have found plenty - the Real Madrid boss has had a pretty easy time of it since taking over from Julen Lopetegui. A trip to Huesca is a potential banana skin for Solari, who will lose a little more of the goodwill a couple of routine wins have built up since the Eibar debacle, but there won't be many valientes putting anything other than a 2 on the coupon for this one as the European champions eye up the leakiest defence in Primera.

Real Sociedad - Valladolid (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win

In a parellel universe - or a table of away results this season - Real Sociedad are top of the league. Unfortunately for season-ticket holders at Anoeta, their side sit 18th in a table based on home results but finally got off the mark in San Sebastián against Celta and look value to add a second success against Valladolid, who remain the joint-lowest scorers in the league.

Betis - Rayo (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: home win

Rayo, despite playing some pretty decent stuff and putting the wind up Barcelona recently, have only turned style into substance twice this season and are being kept off the bottom purely by dint of not being as bad as Huesca. A victory last weekend over a flaccid Eibar only reaped two shots on target and Míchel's side will struggle to make much of a dent in a Betis side who have rediscovered their scoring touch of late and limbered up for this one one with a 4-0 destruction of Racing in the Copa.

Athletic - Girona (Monday 21:00) Prediction: home win

Athletic took the decision to pull the plug on Eduardo Berizzo and the Argentinean didn't seem too bothered about it, suggesting all was not well behind the scenes. Gaizka Gariatino, the man tasked with saving Athletic's season, has a tough job ahead of him with the Lions in the relegation zone and a first taste of the San Mamés hotseat against Girona isn't ideal. If there's a time for new manager boost for Athletic it is now, even if their porous back four will have to keep Cristhian Stuani quiet.

 

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