April 28th - 29th : Maintaining focus
By Andrew, bettingexpert.com | Edited
Google+: Andrew Brocker
Real Madrid have the La Liga crown all but secured and will return following their Champions League semi-final defeat to host Sevilla. Meanwhile Malaga will host Valencia.
Real Madrid vs Sevilla
Everyone will be watching to see how Real Madrid will respond from their midweek Champions League semi-final disappointment. After being eliminated following a penalty shoot out to Bayern Munich they will have to be satisfied with their first La Liga title since 2007/2008. They are now 7 points atop the table following last weekend's away win at the Camp Nou. After Sanchez levelled the score in the 70th minute, Ronaldo struck back 3 minutes later to give the visitors a lead they would not surrender. They are now unbackable favourites to claim the crown in 2011/2012. Could they slip up? Sevilla is a club that have defeated them on home turf in recent history, a 3-4 loss back in 2008/2009 and as we all know following the events in Spain during the week, nothing is a forgone conclusion in this business.
Sevilla sit mid-table and with 4 matches to go until the season concludes, they are just 2 points and goal difference from an unlikely top 6 finish. A win away to a smarting Real Madrid would be as unexpected as it would be helpful in that cause. They have been in reasonable form over the last month or so, having won 4 of their last 7 matches but nothing much to note in those victories as they beat up on two relegation battlers during that run. Last weekend they managed a draw at home to 5th placed Levante in a 1-1 result that remained goalless for the final 60 minutes of the match.
As you would expect, Real Madrid have been installed as 1.20 favourites with with Sevilla getting attention around the 11.00 mark with a +2 goal handicap on offer.
Verdict – Madrid could be down following their disappointment at home midweek. The Over/Under is 3.5 goals and 7 of the last 11 meetings between the clubs have gone Over that number. But let's be different. Under 3.5 goals.
Obscure Stat – Real Madrid have not lost at home in their last 10 matches. Over the last 5 La Liga seasons, they have won 4 of 5 home matches played when on such a streak, with the only loss a 2-6 result against Barcelona in 2008/2009.
Malaga vs Valencia
Malaga enter this home fixture with Valencia 3 points and goal difference off their 3rd place visitors. Their top 3 hopes rest on this weekend's result. And they will have to reverse a run of dull recent form, having won 1 of their last 5 matches, a 3-0 win over last placed Racing Santander 3 weeks ago. Midweek they drew away to Osasuna after falling behind early in the 2nd half. With away trips to Barcelona and Athletico Madrid to come in the next weeks, nothing but a win will be acceptable here. However, history isn't on their side as Valencia isn't a club they have beaten since May 2001, a 3-0 result. Since then they have lost 13 times and drawn 4 in 17 meetings between the clubs. In fact they have scored just once in their last 5 home meetings.
Valencia will enter this key match-up following a late week Europa League meeting with Athletico Madrid. They will have to return their focus quickly to domestic duties and an away commitment at Malaga, a club they have traditionally handled comfortably seems perfect right now. It hasn't been the best run of form however for the 3rd placed club. After a great run to start the season, they have now won just 5 of their last 18 matches, including 2 of their last 11 away fixtures. The last 3 weeks have been particularly turbulent winning two matches by a combined 8 goals to 1 with a 0-4 loss at Espanyol in the middle.
Malaga come in as 2.15 favourites with the visiting Valencia club receiving odds of 3.25 and a +0.25 handicap.
Verdict – Malaga will come out hot and the visitors might not be too keen on a quick pace early. Look for Malaga to lead at the half.
Obscure Stat – Over the last 5 La Liga seasons, Valencia have won just twice in 11 matches played when visiting clubs positioned between 3rd and 5th on the table.
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