Liga – Round 16 – Bielsa’s Bilbao back
By David, bettingexpert.com | Edited
With Barcelona in Japan, having recovered their match against Rayo Vallecano already it is now up to Real Madrid to restore the gap at the top of la Liga. Yet Sevilla are their hosts and they may have a surprise in store for the Blancos. Will it be a fitting surprise given the festive period? Elsewhere Athletic Bilbao host troubled Real Zaragoza and Bielsa may have his hitman back.
Mallorca – Getafe
Nothing special this season but Mallorca have picked up form since Caparros took over. His tactics are sometimes too defensive for the fans’ tastes but as long as results keep coming their way they won’t complain, especially when they remember what they were going through a few months ago.
On Sunday afternoon they also managed to get their first away win since March. Their opponents was a really poor Zaragoza side but the morale would nonetheless be high after those three precious points that lifted them to eleventh in the table.
Getafe visit this weekend and the run should keep going for the home side given their great records against the Madrid-based side and the current form they can boast. Out of the last seven fixtures on the island they won six.
Adding to this Getafe’s last performance I cannot but go for Mallorca here. The guests have been doing very well at home, where in fact they also defeated Barcelona a few weeks ago. However, away from home they would have the worst record were it not for a better home difference.
They still did not live up to the standards at home against Granada on Sunday. Despite the win they needed a lucky goal by substitute Casquero in order to defeat Granada and risked conceding on numerous occasions as well.
Verdict: Mallorca -0.25
The difference between Mallorca and their opponents at the Iberostar has been minimal. Getafe have been poor on the road this term but I still won’t trust the home team completely given Caparros’ affinity for covering up first and foremost rather than going for the kill, which would actually be much better against a fearful Getafe side. Giving the guests time to acclimatize can eventually work against Mallorca although I doubt we should see much of them in the game.
Obscure Stat - Over the last 6 La Liga seasons, Mallorca have won 17 of 31 matches when playing at home against a club that lost its last away game for a win profitability of 8%.
Atheltic Bilbao – Real Zaragoza
What a disappointment at La Romareda the last time out. There were hopes for Real Zaragoza that it could be a turning point for the team deservedly last in the standings but that was a battle they may have won with words. Definitely not with what they showed on the pitch.
Zaragoza’s Javier Aguirre is close to getting the sack. The defence was so disorganized and the final score of 0-1 could easily have been much more in favour of Mallorca. This may well be Aguirre’s last match.
No pressure to perform in midweek against Paris Saint Germain so it will be time for the youngsters to show their skills. Bielsa will want his top players in fine form and especially star striker Llorente on whom rests the main responsibility for Athletic’s points.
“el loco” Bielsa has already graced football with his attacking ideas, very recently building the foundations for present day Chile. This is a great chance for him to revive a career in Europe. Most of the time, however, he does neglect the practical aspect and in this team that is represented by Llorente. The team has been missing him a lot lately. They only managed two points in the last three matches. Next Saturday, however, we should see him in action once again as he recovers from injury.
Zaragoza in shambles should be no match for Bielsa’s Athletic. Llorente should be back so the many chances created will be concluded into the net this time. The news is not yet confirmed but if it is I would advise going for the -1 Asian handicap instead.
Obscure Stat - Over the last 6 La Liga seasons, clubs playing away on a 4 game away losing streak like Zaragoza have lost 40 of 60 matches for an opponent win profitability of 24%.
Valencia – Malaga
Not having been considered as good enough to be in the last 16 teams of the Champions League has struck negatively with Los Che. They clearly lacked motivation for long stretches of the match against Betis and the home side, inspired by Juanma who came on from the bench, took full advantage, reversing the tables on Valencia in injury time.
It was a second disappointment within a few days after the thrashing at Stamford Bridge. Definitely a week to forget for them. Next up are Malaga and the need to get back to winning ways is evident. City rivals Levante have sneaked up on them with the weekend victory over Sevilla and may keep up the pace as they travel to Granada on Sunday.
History is behind Los Che here having won seven and drawn three in the last ten at the Mestalla against Malaga. Since last season, however, the guests have benefited from very good investments and are slowly on their way to gaining more prominence. Slowly though since their away form is yet to be verified. They are also coming from a match which effectively they did dominate against Osasuna but being a home game they were expected to do much better. They went down and then toiled to draw level.
A look at their home games will give five out of seven wins. Four of those were by one single goal and this shows they are still a ‘work-in-progress’ side depending too much on the performance of Santi Cazorla.
Motivations were seriously lacking at the Benito Villamarin but it should have served as a wake up call for them to get back on their feet after the elimination from the Champions League. I think it will be easier to recover motivations when playing against a club like Malaga aiming at becoming one of the top dogs in la Liga.
Obscure Stat - Over the last 6 La Liga seasons, Valencia has hosted a club positioned between 4th and 8th on the tabl 21 times, going over 2.5 goals in 62% of those matches.
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