Savage gives us his thoughts on the pick of the matches in Spain’s Primera División as the Basque derby is the highlight of the weekend
Celta Vigo v Villarreal
Fri 13 Jan 20:00
An excellent result against the reigning champions puts Villarreal within touching distance of the top 4. El Submarino Amarillo have put together a string of 3 straight victories and sees them in a rich vein of form. However, they have recorded just 1 win in their last 7 away from the cosy confines of the Estadio de la Cerámica (W1 D2 L4).
In stark contrast to their visitors the hosts find themselves languishing a point above the relegation places. Just 2 wins in the last 12 paints a bleak picture and clearly highlights the predicament they are in (W2 D3 L7). Their only 3 points against a top half side came in a 1-0 win at home against Betis at the start of October.
Both teams average close to a goal a game scored so it’s unlikely to be a high scoring affair. Villarreal’s quality should shine through in what could be a narrow victory.
Real Sociedad v Athletic Club
Sat 14 Jan 20:00
Sociedad will enjoy seeing the 6 point gap that currently separates them from their Basque derby rivals. This may not completely make up for the 4-0 thrashing they suffered at the hands of Athletic in their last league meeting. Los Txuri-Urdin are not always known for their goalscoring exploits and have registered more than 1 goal just 6 times.
Unfortunately for neutral fans, Bilbao have seen no goals registered in either of their two matches since the World Cup break. The return of the home side’s talisman Mikel Oyarzabal from a lengthy injury layoff will give fans hope for the remainder of the season but his impact may be limited to an appearance off the bench.
The home side have lost just 3 of their last 11 (W8 D1 L2) and should just about take the 3 points.
Almería v Atlético Madrid
Sun 15 Nov 15:15
It is hard to know whether Madrid are worse off following the departure of one of their marquee talents to Chelsea. The promise of Joao Felix can not be disputed but many Atleti fans may still be undecided on his impact during his time at the club. The ongoing struggles of Simeone’s side can not be placed solely on the Portuguese’s shoulders. A 0-1 loss to the league leaders is no disgrace but just 1 win in the last 5 is harder to stomach (W1 D1 L3).
The hosts and league newcomers have strung together a decent set of results that sees them lying in 14th albeit just 2 points above the drop zone. A run of 4 straight losses earlier in the season has lessened the impact of their recent wins. Almería quite unlike some other bottom half sides have only failed to score in 6 matches. They may not have enough to overturn the away side but they could push them a long way in this one.
Celta Vigo v Villarreal – Villarreal to Win @ 31/20
Real Sociedad v Athletic Club – Real Sociedad to Win @ 29/20
Almería v Atlético Madrid – Atlético to Win and BTTS @ 13/5
The above in a treble @ 21/1