Savage gives us his thoughts on the pick of the matches in Spain’s Primera División as Barcelona look to bounce back again
Valencia v Barcelona
Sat 29 Oct 20:00
Barcelona continued their dichotomous season by being dumped out of their Champions League group with a game to spare. However, the fact that they only had 4 points from 4 games meant it was more a case of Bayern putting an end to their suffering. Their domestic form continues to give them some solace at least. Convincing victories against Villarreal and Athletic Club have helped them bounce back from the defeat to Real earlier this month. It has also ensured that they remain 5 points clear of Atlético in third. The impact of Gennaro Gattuso on Valencia may be most evident in the 10 red cards that have been doled out in their 11 matches albeit not all for his side. Just 1 win in 5 (W1 D3 L1) however, means that are stuck in midtable. They have been competitive in all of their matches this season and have not lost by more than 1 goal in their 4 defeats. The visitors have plenty of firepower at their disposal but the home side should cause them some difficulty.
Real Madrid v Girona
Sat 30 Oct 15:15
Despite the minor inconvenience of having still having to secure top spot in their group in the Champions league there are no such concerns domestically. The goal-scoring exploits are such that they have only failed to score more than 1 goal 3 times in 16 competitive outings. However, in the same period they have only managed 4 clean sheets. So it is definitely a case of goals at both ends but substantially more at one end than the other. Despite Girona’s position in the relegation places they have not been completely overrun by the big teams. The exception being a wild encounter at home to Sociedad in which they led 3-2 early in the second half but were on the wrong end of the 3-5 in the end. The away side have managed to sneak a goal in each of their last 8 matches and should be able to register one against Los Blancos as well.
Real Sociedad v Real Betis
Sun 30 Oct 20:00
Real Betis have had a turbulent few weeks in the league compared to their hosts. Just 1 win in 5 (W1 D2 L2) has seen them drop out of the Champions League places. They currently sit 2 points behind their opponents on Sunday. By contrast Sociedad had a 5 game winning run brought to end against a very competent Vallodolid side last time out. The concerning thing for Los Verdiblancos is that they have failed to score in their last three trips away for the Villamarín and have just 1 win on road all season. The home side’s only defeat in San Sebastián was on matchday 2 against a rampant Barcelona. This could become a cagey affair as neither side will look to lose ground on the other in the fight four 4th place. On recent evidence Sociedad should just about shade it.
Valencia v Barcelona: Barcelona and BTTS @ 2/1
Real Madrid v Girona: Real Madrid and BTTS @ 7/5
Real Sociedad v Real Betis: Real Sociedad and U3.5 @ 13/8
Above in a Treble @ 18/1