Savage gives us his thoughts on the pick of the matches in Spain’s Primera División as derbies take centre stage this weekend
Barcelona v Almería
Sat 05 Nov 20:00
After all the financial levers that have been pulled, including announcing the retirement of Gerard Pique (and his salary), Spain’s second club could not avoid dropping into Europe’s second competition. By contrast their domestic form has been exceptional to the point of absurd at times. Only 4 goals conceded in 12 games and none of these at the Camp Nou. In fact the El Clásico humbling accounts for three quarters of their total goals against. Robert Lewandowski is comfortably leading the scoring charts (13) but he is also joint second on the assist list with 4.
The visitors have shipped 12 in their 6 away ties and that has seen them lose 5 straight (W0 D1 L5). The hosts should make light work of this one and their Polish frontman might even grab himself an assist along the way.
Real Betis v Sevilla
Sun 06 Nov 20:00
The Seville derby has always been one of Spain’s feistiest affairs. When these two sides met in last year’s Copa del Rey the match had to be abandoned for 24 hours after Joan Jordán was struck with a plastic pipe thrown from the stands.
The visitors form this season has been abysmal and their 10 points from 12 matches has not only cost them a manager, but is their worst start to a top flight season since 1999/2000 when they were last relegated.
Their bitter rivals will take great pleasure in sitting 14 places above them in the table heading in to Sunday’s fixture. Los Verdiblancos have suffered just 1 defeat in their last 5 (W2 D2 L1) against Atlético which was also their only dropped points at home. They should see off the challenge of their visitors who look a shadow of their former selves.
Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid
Mon 07 Nov 20:00
Los Blancos dropped points for just the second time this season when they drew 1-1 with Girona last time out. The awarding of the away side’s penalty that produced the equaliser would be at best considered dubious by Madridistas far and wide. However, they still remain a point clear at the summit and will be looking to claim all 3 points against local rivals Rayo when they meet in Vallecas. The visitors only 2 clean sheets of the season have come in their most recent road games against Getafe and Elche. That being said Madrid have been susceptible to conceding at least once in the majority of their games this season as evidenced by Celtic’s late consolation in midweek. Real should prove too strong for their neighbours but it will not be as easy as some matches this season.
Barcelona v Almería: Robert Lewandowski anytime assist @ 9/4
Real Betis v Sevilla: Real Betis and Over 1.5 @17/10
Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid: Real Madrid and Over 2.5 @13/10
The above in a treble @ 19/1