Savage gives us his thoughts on the pick of the matches in Spain’s Primera División as Real cling on to Barcelona’s coattails
Osasuna v Real Madrid
Sat 18 Feb 20:00
Osasuna are experiencing a torrid run at the moment thanks in part to a terrible away record. Just 1 win in their last 8 (W1 D4 L3) has seen them slip to mid-table. The only thing worse than their current form is their record against their visitors. No wins in 17 attempts paints a bleak picture when facing the reigning champions. Madrid coasted their way to another piece of silverware by dispatching Al-Hilal 5-3 in the final of the Club World Cup. The scoring did not slow down in mid-week either when Los Blancos bagged 4 against a hapless Elche. Despite experiencing a rocky patch that has seen them slip 8 points behind the leaders, Madrid have lost just once in 9 in all competitions (W7 D1 L1). Benzema scored twice from the penalty spot last time out to take his tally to 11 but goals could be at a premium in Pamplona.
Atlético Madrid v Athletic Club
Sun 19 Feb 17:30
Atlético left it very late to snatch all 3 points against a stubborn Celta Vigo last time out. An 89th minute winner from their new signing Depay maintained their 4 point cushion to Betis in 5th. It must be cruel for Madrid fans to see European football returning without their side featuring in either competition. However, without any further cup distractions to worry about Simeone’s side can put all of their efforts into returning to biggest stage again next season. If they are to achieve this goal then their home form must improve. Just 2 wins in 6 (W2 D3 L1) does not instill a lot of confidence. That being said their opponents recorded their first away win since mid-September when they beat relegation strugglers Valencina 1-2 on matchday 21. This could definitely be a cagey affair with both sides struggling to find any sort of consistency.
Barcelona v Cádiz
Sun 19 Feb 20:00
The Barcelona juggernaut continues to plow its way through league opposition on what looks to be a procession toward the title. Their next three fixtures sees them play teams in the bottom 6 which should mean this side barely have to break a sweat. The visitor’s got a first-hand look at how ruthless this Barca side can be when they were thumped 0-4 on south-coast in September. Given that their away form is even worse than their home one it will do little to assuage their fan’s fears heading into this one. Blaugrana’s current six match winning streak has seen them concede just one (own) goal and Cádiz are certainly not overly burdened with goals on the road (5 in 10 matches). A tough outing lies in store for the away side.
Osasuna v Real Madrid – Real Madrid and Over 1.5 Goals @ 5/4
Atlético Madrid v Athletic Club – Atletico to win @ 21/20
Barcelona v Cádiz – Barcelona and Under 2.5 goals @ 5/2
The above in a treble at 15/1