As we return to domestic action across Europe, Sunday isn’t filled with glamour ties on the continent but there’s still value to be had from one league in particular. In fact, my three tips for this weekend are all from LaLiga, starting with a tussle between two sides with relatively little to play for.
Leganes vs Valencia – 15:15 KO
With the hosts’ top-flight safety assured for another season and Valencia all but guaranteed a spot in the top four, both of these sides can play with the shackles off this weekend, and as such the visitors’ superior quality should show.
Marcelino’s men had suffered something of a dip around the turn of the year but the return of key players from injury in recent weeks has seen Los Che re-emerge as an outside contender for second, let alone a Champions League finish. Rodrigo Moreno is in strong form up front and Geoffrey Kondogbia has been the perfect foil for the impressive Dani Parejo in midfield, with the pair running the show of late.
Six wins from seven mean that Valencia have picked up more points over that timeframe (19) than any other side in Spain’s top-flight, and while Leganes have proven they are no mugs this season – particularly at home – the away side this weekend have had their number in the last five meetings between the two. With odds of 2.09 on that streak to extend to six this weekend, I’m backing Valencia to keep the pressure on the Madrid sides above them.
Malaga vs Villarreal – 17:30 KO
Malaga are dead and buried, of that there is no doubt, but the Andalusian outfit still have the ability to frustrate sides, and Villarreal aren’t exactly a free-scoring bunch.
The Yellow Submarine have netted just 15 goals in as many away games this season, with an average of 2.2 goals in total in their matches on the road thus far.
While their hosts this weekend have put up a pretty feeble bid for survival, it’s their attacking record that has seen the club go 14 league matches without a win at present. A remarkable 72.4% of their fixtures to date this season have seen under 2.5 goals, and everything points to a repeat this Sunday.
The home side have failed to score at all in 11 of their last 14 La Liga games, with 14 of their last 16 matches seeing under 2.5 goals, as well as each of their last six meetings with Villarreal. Moreover, the visitors’ last seven away outings have heralded just 11 goals in total (1.57 per game). As such, I’d be confident enough to take the @1.85 on the unders in the 2.25 goal line in this one.
Atletico Madrid vs Deportivo La Coruna – 19:45 KO
Rounding off the action in Spain this weekend, it’s second against second from bottom as Atleti host fallen giants Deportivo. The latter are losing their battle against the drop after back-to-back wins for Levante, leaving the visitors to the Wanda Metropolitano this Sunday seven points from safety.
There’s still time to turn it around, but the appointment of Clarence Seedorf was a big risk that as yet hasn’t had the desired effect.
Indeed, Depor are also on a 14-match run without a win in LaLiga, so a trip to Madrid is the last thing they need right now. Anything short of three points would surely just delay the inevitable at this stage after all, so the side that you would want to face is one that just doesn’t concede goals in their new stadium. The move from the Calderon has been a huge success to now after all, with Diego Simeone’s side now on a run of seven consecutive victories at home in all competitions.
Moreover, the hosts haven’t conceded a goal in that time, with Girona playmaker Portu the last man to find a way past Jan Oblak in the capital, with over ten hours of football passing since. To make matters worse for the away side, they’ve lost on each of their last 11 trips to face Atleti, failing to score in the last six of those, and since they last scored on their travels this season – five games ago – they have conceded 18 times. A comfortable home win looks assured so a price close to even money on the hosts to do so by at least two goals looks great value to me.
- Valencia win: @2.09
- Malaga-Villarreal under 2.25: @1.85
- Atletico -1.5 handicap: @1.934