C.D. LEGANES -:- DEPORTIVO ALAVES
Leganés will look to break out of the bottom three when they welcome surprise package Deportivo Alavés in La Liga (LL). Although winless in their last five competitive games this season (D4, L1), Leganés haven’t lost to the visitors in recent years, and remain unbeaten in seven H2H encounters (W3, D4).
The hosts might be struggling at the wrong end of the table (W2, D4, L6), but home form is solid (W2, D2, L1) and two recent draws before the international break away to Girona and at home to Atlético Madrid give rise to hope at the Estadio Municipal de Butarque.
Goals are an issue for Leganés however, with the club scoring over 1.5 goals just once this season in LL. Subsequently, only one side has scored less goals than the nine the ‘Cucumber Growers’ have managed.
A win over Huesca in their last game, combined with Barcelona’s defeat to Betis, means tiny Alavés (W7, D2, L3) can actually go top of LL with a win in this game – not bad for a side who’ve spent just 14 seasons in the top flight and have a highest-placed finish of sixth (1999/00).
Nonetheless away LL form is patchy, with their record of three wins and three losses not helped by taking the lead in two games that they then went on to lose. Overall, Alavés have struck first in five of their six away games.
Players to watch : Guido Carrillo has scored in each of Leganés’ last two home games. Jony , meanwhile, has scored in his last two games for Alavés and has five assists for the season.
Stat attack: Alavés have been level at the break seven times this season, while Leganés have been all square on nine occasions.
Leganés have a league-high five losses after being level at half-time.
Alavés, meanwhile, have a league-high four victories after being level at half-time.
PREDICTION: AWAY WIN
SD EIBAR -:- REAL MADRID
An improving Eibar side welcome Real Madrid to the Ipurua Municipal Stadium looking to build on their record of just one defeat in their previous five La Liga (LL) matches (W2, D2, L1). Meanwhile for Real, after enduring a run of no league wins in five, they come into this encounter with back-to-back LL victories for the first time since the start of September.
Only the league’s top six sides can boast a better home record than Eibar, with three of their four top-flight wins this season coming at home (W3, D1, L2). Interestingly, all four of their victories so far have come by a margin of just one goal.
Ahead of this round, the visitors loiter in sixth place following their worst LL start in over nine years. However under the stewardship of new manager Santiago Solari, Madrid have won their last four games (in all competitions), scoring 15 goals in the process. They’ve managed as many clean sheets (three) in those four matches under Solari, than in their 12 matches this season prior to his appointment.
Real are undefeated in their last ten competitive H2H meetings with Eibar (W8, D2), with six of the last eight featuring three or more match goals.
Players to watch : Veteran Brazilian forward Charles has two goals in his last four league matches for Eibar – both came from the penalty spot.
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema seems to be rediscovering his lethal form at just the right time for ‘Los Blancos’, scoring five in his previous six (in all competitions).
Stat attack: There have been over 1.5 match goals in nine of Eibar’s 12 league fixtures this season.
Real have scored 4+ goals in three of their previous four matches, and 3+ goals in five of the last ten H2Hs.
Eibar have received one red card in each of their last two LL matches.
PREDICTION: AWAY WIN
VALENCIA -:- VALLECANO
Saturday’s mid-afternoon kick-off at the Mestalla sees Valencia go in search of an elusive first home La Liga (LL) win of the season, as they welcome a Rayo Vallecano side languishing near the foot of the table.
Fifteenth-placed Valencia (W2, D8, L2, -1) ended a four-match winless run in LL by beating Getafe 1-0 away last time out, and they will be looking to secure their first back-to-back LL wins of the campaign. Marcelino García Toral’s side, who won a remarkable 13 home games on their way to claiming a Champions League spot last season, have failed to win any of their opening six LL fixtures on home soil (D5, L1).
Rayo, meanwhile, make it to the Mestalla after grinding out a point in a feisty 2-2 draw at home to Villarreal. They haven’t tasted victory in their last nine league matches (D4, L5), a dreadful run of form that sees them sit 19th (W1, D4, L7, -11) – three points adrift of safety.
Valencia have lost just one of their 17 home top-flight H2H meetings against Rayo (W13, D3). It’s also worth noting that Valencia boss Marcelino won all three of his home encounters against Rayo during his spell in charge of Villarreal.
Players to watch: Geoffrey Kondogbia is yet to get off the mark in LL this season (549 min, eight shots). He scored his first goal for the Central African Republic in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last Sunday.
Just four players have had more shots on goal than Raúl de Tomás (28 shots, four goals) in LL so far this season.
Stat attack: Valencia have recorded more draws (eight) than any other LL side. They have won only one of the eight league matches in which they’ve been level at half-time (D5, L2).
None of Rayo’s last 32 games in all competitions have ended goalless.
Valencia keep struggling to find the net. They have a whopping 24 goals fewer to their name than they did after 12 league matches a year ago.
PREDICTION: HOME WIN
HUESCA -:- LEVANTE
Huesca and Levante meet for this La Liga (LL) clash in contrasting circumstances. While the hosts are rooted to the bottom of the table and still hunting their first home win of the campaign, Levante are sitting in eighth ahead of this round, and just three points off the European spots.
The home side started their last two league outings by grabbing the opening goal, but an injury-time Getafe equaliser (1-1), and an Alavés comeback (2-1), made it just one point from two previous winning positions.
After celebrating their LL debut with an opening day win, Huesca have gained only three points since (D3, L8). However, they have lost by a two-goal margin or more in just three of their eight defeats so far.
At this stage last season Levante were in the relegation zone, but now sit three points off LL giants Real Madrid. The ‘Granotas’ were defeated in their last league match, a 3-1 home loss to Real Sociedad, but have still managed to secure 13 points from their last six games (W4, D1, L1).
Only four teams have scored more goals in the league than Levante so far, with the visitors averaging 1.5 goals per match. They’ve failed to find the net in just one LL fixture this campaign.
Players to watch: Álex Gallar is Huesca’s top scorer with three goals, though he is yet to grab his first LL home strike. Meanwhile, Levante top scorer Roger Martí has six goals so far, and got on the scoresheet the last time he visited Huesca’s Estadio El Alcoraz.
Stat attack: The hosts have scored just 20% of their league goals at home – two out of ten.
The visitors have conceded just five goals in their six LL away games so far.
Eight of Levante’s 12 league fixtures have featured over 2.5 goals.
ATLETICO MADRID -:- BARCELONA
Saturday’s La Liga (LL) action concludes with a blockbuster, heavyweight clash at the Wanda Metropolitano as Atletico Madrid and Barcelona battle it out for the top spot.
Ahead of the round, Atlético find themselves third (23 points), level with Alavés and Sevilla and just one adrift of pace-setters Barca. The Catalan giants could travel to Madrid having been knocked off their perch, should Alavés claim all three points against Leganés on Friday.
The hosts come into the game in good form. They’re unbeaten in their last nine LL games (W5, D4), netting 16 goals and conceding five, and have lost just one of their past 14 competitive games. What’s more, Diego Simeone’s men boast an almost perfect home record this season (W7, D1, L0).
Barca’s mind-blowing 42-game unbeaten home league run was brought to a halt last game as Betis pulled off a stunning 4-3 victory. Their defensive frailties have seen them concede 14 more goals (18) than in the opening 12 league games of last season (four). Just five teams have shipped more goals than Barca in LL so far this campaign.
Saturday will mark the 163rd top-flight encounter between these sides (Atlético 50 wins, 39 draws, Barca 73 wins). Barca haven’t tasted defeat in any of their last eight LL visits to Atlético (W6, D2).
Players to watch : Antoine Griezmann has been directly involved in seven of Atlético’s 16 league goals (three goals, four assists).
Lionel Messi (nine LL goals, five assists) has 28 goals to his name against Atlético (0.78 per game on average).
Stat attack: Atlético have managed five clean sheets in their last eight LL games.
Barca have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last ten league matches.
Just one of the eight league goals Atlético’s steely defence have conceded this season has come in the first-half.
Barcelona are on a 26-game scoring run in all competitions.
ATHLETIC BILBAO -:- GETAFE
Hovering above the relegation zone ahead of this round, Athletic Bilbao will be desperate to clinch all three points against Getafe in this La Liga (LL) clash, a team that have scored just one goal on their last four league visits here (D1, L3).
Usually considered as potential challengers for the European spots, Bilbao have failed to live up to expectations recently. The ‘Leones’ have just two wins in their last 19 league matches (W2, D8, L9), and have just one victory this season, an honour they share with bottom teams Huesca and Rayo Vallecano.
Their woes have much to do with their goal scoring struggles, with Bilbao netting one goal or less in eight of their 12 league games so far. However, although their season has been one to forget, Bilbao have managed to secure
1-1 draws against LL giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Getafe’s season has been solid, with the Madrid-based side maintaining their defensive prowess from last season, having conceded just ten goals this campaign – the joint-fourth best record in the league.
The ‘Azulones’ are decent away from home, securing nine of their 16 points on the road (W2, D3, L1). However their past record here doesn’t bode well, with just three wins in 13 trips to the San Mamés (W3, D3, L7).
Players to watch: Iñaki Williams , Bilbao’s top scorer with four goals, is having his best start to a season since 2015/16.
Getafe’s Jorge Molina has two goals in his last three league matches, and got on the scoresheet in last season’s fixture here.
Stat attack: This season, Bilbao have scored 62% of their LL goals during the second-half.
Only one of Getafe’s 12 league fixtures so far have produced over 2.5 goals.
Each of Getafe’s last seven league goals came in the second-half.
PREDICTION: HOME WIN
SEVILLA -:- VALLADOLID
Sevilla could rise to the top of La Liga (LL) with a win over Valladolid. However, with an away victory potentially moving the league newcomers into the European spots, this is an encounter with huge incentive for both sides to get all three points.
In second ahead of this round, Pablo Machin’s Sevilla have now lost just one of their last five LL matches (W3, D1, L1). Their form looks even better at home, with four-consecutive wins and only one defeat in their six league outings at the Sánchez Pizjuán this season (W4, D1, L1).
Meanwhile, Valladolid sit seventh after 12 rounds (W4, D5, L3), but are currently winless in their last three matches (D2, L1). On the road they’ve been consistent, with one defeat so far (W2, D3, L1), albeit that came in their last away outing.
The recent H2H record between these sides is surprisingly balanced. Since the turn of the century, these two have met 17 times in LL, with six wins for Sevilla and five for Valladolid, along with six draws. However, Sevilla do have supremacy in the all-time H2H record: W42, D19, L27.
Players to watch: André Silva has settled nicely at Sevilla. The Portuguese international has seven goals in 11 league matches so far. Meanwhile 21-year-old striker Enes Ünal has two goals for Valladolid this season, but hasn’t scored in his last five LL outings.
Stat attack: Sevilla have LL’s second best attack with 24 goals, averaging two goals per match. Only Barcelona (34) have a more prolific attacking line.
Valladolid boast the joint-third best away defence with only five goals conceded. However, they also own the joint-third worst attack with just five goals scored.
Both teams have scored in the last eight H2H encounters, with six of those games featuring over 2.5 match goals.
PREDICTION: HOME WIN
ESPANYOL -:- GIRONA
Proud owners of a 100% home record, high-flying Espanyol play host to a resurgent Girona side this La Liga (LL) weekend. It will, however, take a lot of character for them to win, with Espanyol having turned victory to defeat by conceding two late goals at Sevilla in their last match.
Espanyol (W6, D3, L3) are eight points better off compared to this point last season. Additionally, they boast a reasonably tight defence, having not conceded more than once in any of their past 13 home league matches, getting a clean sheet in nearly half (six) of them.
As for Girona (W4, D5, L3), they arrive at the RCDE Stadium looking to close the gap on the top six. Eusebio Sacristán’s outfit remain the only side in the division yet to taste defeat away from home (W2, D3).
Though unbeaten on the road, Girona will need to be extra careful in the penalty box, as no LL side has conceded more penalties than Girona’s four so far. They will also need to work extra hard in the first-half, with Espanyol winning the first-half in four of their last five games.
Players to watch: Espanyol forward Borja Iglesias (seven LL goals, two assists) has now found the net in each of his last four league appearances.
For the visitors, the irreplaceable Cristhian Stuani boasts an astonishing eight LL goals from only 19 shots so far this season.
Stat attack: The pair have met just twice in the top-flight, with one win apiece. Last season’s corresponding fixture ended 1-0 to Girona.
Going back to last season, Girona’s recent away record against other Catalan teams is: W1, D1, L1 (GF 4, GA 8).
Espanyol are the only team in LL that has won every match after being level at half-time.
PREDICTION: HOME WIN
VILLARREAL -:- REAL BETIS
Winless in seven consecutive league matches at the Estadio de la Cerámica (D4, L3), Villarreal approach this match in the midst of their longest La Liga (LL) home streak without victory since the turn of the century. A lack of scoring prowess is the main culprit, with the hosts averaging just 0.92 goals per match overall.
Villarreal’s losses have, at least, been tight, with four of five league defeats coming by a mere one-goal margin. This stat, coupled with the fact that Betis’ four LL wins this campaign have also been decided by a one-goal margin, sets this encounter up as a potentially cagey affair.
Travelling to Villarreal after a shock 4-3 victory over Barcelona in their last away outing, Real Betis are currently on a four-match unbeaten run in all competitions (W2, D2).
That famous triumph was just the second LL away win this season for Betis (W2, D2, L2), remarkably coming after a return of just one goal across five away league outings. However, the visitors’ second-half defensive displays in away matches remain problematic, with all six LL goals conceded by Betis coming after half-time.
Players to watch : Lacking options upfront, a late equaliser by Nicola Sansone in Villarreal’s last outing could see him earn his first LL start this season. Meanwhile, Loren got a brace for Betis in their last H2H encounter with Villarreal, and has three LL goals this campaign.
Stat attack: Villarreal have conceded the opener in their last three LL home matches.
Betis have been shown exactly three yellow cards in four of their six LL away fixtures.
Villarreal are unbeaten in the last six H2Hs held here (W4, D2).
Five of Villarreal’s six home matches this season have featured under 2.5 goals.
REAL SOCIEDAD -:- CELTA VIGO
PREDICTION: Not Available