Savage gives us his thoughts on the pick of the matches in Spain’s Primera División as El Derbi Maridleno tops the billing
Real Madrid v Atlético Madrid
Sat 25 Feb 17:30
Real’s fans should be in a buoyant mood going into the local derby with Atlético. Their team appears to be back to their imperious best and have been bagging goals for fun in the process. Los Blancos have racked up 20 goals in their last 5 matches in all competitions which included the demolition of Liverpool in midweek.
This is in stark contrast to the visitors who have managed just a goal a game in their last 4 (W3 D1 L0). Simeone knows better than most how dangerous the hosts are so he will likely look to stymie their all-star attack in his own inimitable style. However, when it comes to this Real side that is definitely easier said than done. Vinícius Jr in particular has taken many of the plaudits this season and he will not need any more incentive to score against these particular opponents after recent off-field events.
Valencia v Real Sociedad
Sun 25 Feb 20:00
There is little wonder why Valencia currently find themselves languishing in 19th position. Just one win in their last 14 (W1 D4 L9) is evidence enough of a team in massive trouble. As with all teams that find themselves this low in the table it is simply goals that are the problem. Since their surprise 3-0 win over Betis in November Los Che have managed just 4 goals in 8 league games.
Sociedad have hit their own rough patch in recent weeks. They have claimed 4 points from the previous 12 on offer and this has seen them fall off the pace of the top 2. The visitor’s have a quietly impressive away record and have only failed to score in two of their road fixtures (W8 D2 L1). They should not have too much to fear against a home side that is devoid of any confidence.
Almería v Barcelona
Sun 26 Feb 17:30
There is not much that needs to be said about Barcelona’s league form this season. 19 wins in 22 outings has provided them with an 8 point cushion over their nearest rivals. The Blaugrana have been positively miserly away from home having conceded just 6 goals. However, 3 of these came in the first El Clásico meeting of the year.
With Almería conceding nearly as many goals (40) as their visitors have scored (45) it could be a very difficult afternoon for the newcomers from Andalusia. With Barcelona crashing out of their second European competition, it leaves just the league and Copa del Rey to play for. The hosts were on the wrong end of a 6-2 shellacking against Girona last time and its unlikely they will fair much better this time around.
Real Madrid v Atlético Madrid – Vinícius Jr anytime goalscorer @ 21/10
Valencia v Real Sociedad – Real Sociedad to win @ 7/5
Almería v Barcelona – Barcelona win to nil @ 8/5
The above in a treble @ 18/1