La Liga Preview: Gameweek 117 min read
Barcelona are continuing to build a considerable lead at the top of La Liga, heading into this weekend’s action, with Ernesto Valverde’s reign at Camp Nou yet to hit a considerable speed bump. Real Madrid, meanwhile, dropped further points in an away defeat against Girona last weekend, surprising many and ultimately leaving Los Blancos eight points off the title pace already. We’re only in November.
Zinedine Zidane’s men have some catching up to do, with in-form Valencia currently looking to be a considerable rival to get beyond in second. Atletico Madrid have been drawing games galore both in the league and Europe, while Sevilla’s very recent upturn in fortunes looks set to be derailed by a trip to Catalonia. There are banana skins aplenty this weekend, so we picked out the best value from the biggest games.
Valencia vs Leganes
Valencia are showing no signs of slowing down after 10 La Liga matchdays, with Marcelino’s side currently posing the biggest challenge to league leaders Barcelona. They are unbeaten so far at Mestalla this season and have kept clean sheets in four of their five outings at home in the Spanish top flight. Leganes are the next unfortunate team to pay a visit, with Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Malaga recent victims.
The visitors are looking in good shape under Asier Garitano this campaign and come into the weekend in seventh place, but their goalscoring capabilities are a big worry against a team as resilient as Los Che. Leganes have scored nine goals in their 10 league games, and recently saw a long unbeaten run ended at the hands of Sevilla on the road. Given that Valencia are so tough to find a way through, both teams are not likely to find the back of the net on Saturday afternoon and the hosts have to be backed as favourites.
Valencia to Win to Nil
Valencia to win, under 2.5 goals and Darko Brasanac to be carded
Deportivo La Coruña vs Atletico Madrid
Diego Simeone has been able to guide Atletico Madrid to an unbeaten start to their La Liga campaign, but the Argentine coach is certainly under pressure at the outset of November. Six draws in their last seven competitive games is certainly a poor run, with the underdog likes of Qarabag and second-tier Elche able to hold Los Colchoneros at bay too. Away from the Wanda, there is a big chance for more points to be dropped.
Deportivo come into the weekend high on confidence, after overturning a 1-0 deficit to beat Las Palmas on Monday evening. The hosts have taken six points from their last available nine at Riazor, knowing that their form on their own patch will be vital to trying to stay above the relegation battle this time around. Six goals in their last four home league games suggest they can pose a stuttering Atleti some real issues.
Barcelona vs Sevilla
Barcelona have won their last 17 consecutive La Liga home games, with Camp Nou certainly a tough place for any club to come to so far this campaign. The last time they dropped points in the league in front of their own fans was in December 2016. Sevilla have been struggling this season, with Eduardo Berizzo only recently starting to learn what his best eleven will be for the months ahead.
Although Barca have kept four clean sheets in their last five La Liga home matches, the likes of Malaga, Las Palmas, Eibar and Espanyol have been quite goal shy in general this season. A team with firepower and creativity such as Los Nervionenses should be confident of causing some problems on the break. The likes of Wissam Ben Yedder and Luis Muriel are much more dangerous when given some space to attack in behind. Sevilla have scored in four of their last five competitive outings, but taking a share of the spoils home this weekend looks incredibly unlikely.
Barcelona to Win and Both Teams to Score
Barcelona to win, over 2.5 goals and Gabriel Mercado to be carded
Real Madrid vs Las Palmas
Zinedine Zidane may have come in for some serious criticism following Real Madrid’s 3-1 away defeat against Spurs in the Champions League on Wednesday, but this weekend should be an opportunity to set the record straight in La Liga. After recording back-to-back clean sheets and victories against Espanyol and Eibar at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga lately, Las Palmas arrive in dreadful form.
Real Madrid were on the longest-ever unbeaten streak for a team in the #UCL group stages – 30 games.
Then along came Tottenham Hotspur 👏 pic.twitter.com/AQvIlZE9lu
— BetVictor (@BetVictor) November 1, 2017
Pako Ayestaran has only suffered league defeats since being appointed as boss at the tail end of September, with captain and key midfielder Jonathan Viera injured for a minimum of a few weeks after picking up a hamstring issue versus Deportivo. Viera is the creative heartbeat of the visitors, who will be unlikely to piece too much together in terms of dangerous counter-attacks without him. Real Madrid are in desperate need of three points and a convincing performance to go with it, with out-of-form Las Palmas the perfect opponent to come up against in Los Blancos’ time of need.
Real Madrid to win to nil