Savage gives us his thoughts and his best bets for the pick of the matches in Spain’s Primera División as Barcelona aim to go 11 clear
Celta Vigo v Atlético Madrid
Sun 12 Feb 15:15
Celta have managed to string together back to back wins for only the second time thanks to a rollercoaster 3-4 win against Betis. Having won just once in their previous 11 outings (W1 D4 L6) the 6 points will have brought welcome relief. The hosts have the 3rd highest number of goals conceded and if that persists they may find themselves a lot lower than 12th.
Atleti failed to extend their winning run when a late Enes Unal goal meant they were held at home for the third time. Surprisingly Madrid’s form is better away from the Wanda having claimed 5 more points on the road. This has largely come from a record of scoring in all bar one of their away games.
Los Celetes have managed to net at least one in every home tie which means both teams to score is definitely on the cards in this one.
Villarreal v Barcelona
Sun 12 Feb 20:00
Villarreal suffered the ignominy of being the only team to lose to Elche so far when they went down 3-1 to bottom side. Fortunately for El Submarino Amarillo their home record is substantially better. Only two losses in 9 (W7 D1 L2) shows they are a force to be reckoned with at the Ceramica.
However, there is no force quite as unstoppable as the current Barcelona team. Xavi’s side sit 8 points clear at the summit thanks to a comfortable 3-0 win over a struggling Sevilla. Despite this, Barca’s goal production has slowed ever so slightly including a four match run with just 1 goal scored in each. However, they are still getting the job done regardless.
Goals may be at a premium in this one as Villarreal do not tend to concede in front of their own fans.
Real Madrid v Elche
Wed 15 Feb 20:00
Real Madrid appear to be their own worst enemy at the moment. In what should have been a routine win against Mallorca, Nacho scored a looping own-goal header and Marco Asensio failed to convert from the spot. However, their home form has kept them just about alive. Having conceded a goal in each of their first 7 at the Bernabeu (W5 D2 L0) they have put together back-to-back clean sheets in recent weeks.
If there is one side in the league that should provide a tonic for the recent defeat it is Elche. Los Franjiverdes have managed just 3 points on the road that all came in draws against sides in the bottom 6. This does not bode well for a team that already looks to be nailed on for relegation.
Carlo Ancelloti will be hoping that his side’s brief Moroccan sojourn for the Club World Cup will not stunt their league progress.
Celta Vigo v Atlético Madrid – Draw and BTTS @ 7/2
Villarreal v Barcelona – Barcelona and Under 2.5 @ 7/2
Real Madrid v Elche – Real Madrid and Under 2.5 @ 13/5
Treble @ 72/1