Last16 – Barcelona’s cantera in action
By David, bettingexpert.com | Published
Barcelona have virtually already set up the quarter-final match with Real Madrid after their 4-0 in the first leg. They will be giving space to the youngsters this week but it should still be a successful, confidence-boosting trip to Osasuna after the slip up in the derby with Espanyol. Levante aim to overturn the 2-1 from the first leg just like Sevilla will be hoping for at home against Valencia.
Levante – Alcorcon
Alcorcon had been Real Madrid’s punishers two years ago, kicking them out of the Copa early on. Last year, under Mourinho’s tenure there was no overlooking the fact that it is a trophy anyway and that it represented a chance for overcoming Barcelona. It was thanks to this competition that Real Madrid managing not to get annihilated completely by their arch rivals.
This season they are close to making it through again by defeating one of only two teams which have beaten Real Madrid this season. Levante had taken by surprise the Liga losing their first match when in the tenth round of games. There is potential there but they are a team with quite a high average age. That may explain why they felt the fatigue as the season went on and why they lost the first leg against Alcorcon and failed to beat a poor travelling Mallorca on Saturday.
Alcorcon are just above mid-table in the Segunda Division and hopes of them being promoted are low at this stage. Yet they always seem to cherish a good challenge against a high profile team. Levante look ideal to go up against and the 2-1 from last week gives them hope.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Slow starters Levante deserved to lose at Alcorcon but back home they have shown solidity in the league. They only lost the derby against Valencia over eight encounters. Alcorcon will feel they can push for qualification though and with the spirit they often show when confronted with a challenge against a top club they ought to make it difficult for the hosts to have it their way.
Sevilla – Valencia
Ten points separate these two clubs in the table. Two top clubs from Spain which have been distancing themselves from each other over the past three years with Valencia consolidating their position and Sevilla growing weaker.
With Caceres playing his own game as he pushes for a transfer to Juventus Sevilla try setting themselves up with a good starting eleven to recover the one-goal defeat suffered in Valencia. Although it was a cup match from the round of 16 it was a highly contested match with nine yellow cards shown. It always is a good match of football between these two and I would not expect less of them this time around.
They met last in the Copa del Rey three years ago with each claiming a home victory. Sevilla went through on the away goals rule but in total there were eight goals scored. The home team in these fixtures usually does grab a goal. The intent of neither manager is to play on defence here with Sevilla needing the goals and Valencia better off going for goals themselves lest they prove themselves weak and vulnerable as on Sunday against Villareal and concede too much initiative.
Verdict: Valencia to qualify
In the derby with Villareal it was clear Valencia were more at ease in attack. They found their way to goal easily but conceded almost as easily good chances to the Yellow Submarines. Both sides will want to go for this game and with Sevilla’s record at home against Valencia they should not be written off. However, when taking games seriously, Valencia can rarely be ruled out of the picture.
Osasuna – Barcelona
It has been quite a good run for Osasuna so far and hopes are high for them to land the fourth place and go through to the Champions League next season. In chasing that landmark they seem to have given up on the cup though, especially since they knew they were going up against Barcelona.
The Blaugrana would be eager to set up a quarter-final clash with Real Madrid so they were bound to take this seriously. Osasuna reacted by taking it easy with a line-up consisting mostly of second string players. It was natural that they lost 4-0 at the Nou Camp last week. Over the weekend they still failed to take all three points from what seemed like an easy fixture against Real Sociedad. They have scheduled a league fixture against another relegation candidate, Racing Santander, which they will have targeted for three points.
Guardiola may have forgotten the derby was from last Sunday after having landed the best manager award from Fifa. Messi managed to wrap his hands around the Golden Ball for a third consecutive time, equaling Platini’s feat. The five points from Real Madrid remain though so although nothing is lost there yet it will be nice to go through and meet Les Merengues in the quarters. It will be just another chance to prove their superiority.
Verdict: Barcelona -1.5
After the first leg both teams will be fielding reserves mostly. We all know what the second string players from Barcelona’s cantera are capable of though and at odds of about 2.10 for the guests to win by at least two goals this looks like a good bet.
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