LaLiga got underway last weekend with a bang – with 40 goals flying in across the opening round of fixtures! The most remarkable score line came at Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan where Sevilla saw off Espanyol in an enthralling 6-4 encounter, while there were comfortable victories for Barcelona and Real Madrid. All three promoted sides also picked up impressive opening day results – Osasuna and Alaves holding Malaga and Atletico Madrid away from home respectively, while Leganes picked up three points away to Celta Vigo.
We’ll review the pick of this weekend’s action and show where the best odds may be found.
Real Betis v Deportivo La Coruna (Friday)
The bad news for Gus Poyet was his new side shipping six goals in the first round; the good news is that they won’t be away to Barcelona every week. It is a greatly changed Real Betis – five of their nine new signings started at Camp Nou, with the side tipped to challenge for Europe this campaign.
Deportivo came from behind to see off Eibar at the Riazor, with Arsenal-target Lucas Perez netting a late winning penalty.
This is a fixture which usually enjoys goals, with no scoreless encounter in the last fifteen clashes. However, the Galicians have the edge in the fixture and are unbeaten in their last six visits to Estadio Benito Villamarin, winning four of these.
Anytime Goalscorer – Ruben Castro at 2.75 with Coral – The 35-year-old striker is like a fine wine – he just gets better with age. Netting 19 league goals last term, he’s up-and-running this season having scored both goals for Los Verdiblancos at Barcelona last weekend. Now with a new unselfish strike partner – Antonio Sanabria – expect another fine goalscoring run this time around.
Real Madrid v Celta Vigo
No Ronaldo, no problem. In fact, there was no Benzema, no Isco and no James yet still Real Madrid breezed to a comfortable opening day victory at Real Sociedad. Gareth Bale, as is now becoming the norm, was the star of the show for Los Blancos. A goal right at the start and with the last kick of the game sealed an impressive performance, with the upcoming Marco Asensio continuing his fine form by netting just before the break.
Celta Vigo never got going in their opener against newly-promoted Leganes. A Victor Diaz goal won it for the visitors, who had a man sent-off late on. Few could argue with the outcome, Celta were poor and whilst it may be too early to jump to conclusions that they will struggle without Nolito, this was an underwhelming start.
They have lost their last four meetings against Real Madrid, shipping 17 goals in the process including a 7-1 thumping at the Bernabeu last season.
HT/FT Draw-Real at 5.00 with Bet Victor – Despite a hammering for Celta at the Bernabeu last time out, it was only 1-0 at half-time – Pepe scrambling home from a scrappy corner five minutes before the break. Celta keeping things level until the second half before succumbing is a tempting offer.
Leganes v Atletico Madrid
It’s a Madrid derby in the first ever top-flight match to be held at Estadio Municipal de Butarque – the 8,000 capacity stadium in the suburb of Leganes. Asier Garitano guided the club to their first ever promotion to the top flight in May, and they kicked it off in sensational form with a deserved opening day victory in Vigo.
The tough start is unrelenting for the minnows, who now face Atletico Madrid who themselves are now a wounded animal. A home start against newly promoted Deportivo Alaves looked set to be a straightforward win for Diego Simeone’s side, but LaLiga once again showed it’s unique ability to surprise and offer stunning finishes. After a 90-minute onslaught, Kevin Gamerio’s penalty in the third minute of stoppage time had looked certain to win it for Atletico, before Alaves scored two minutes later, with their first shot on target of the match.
Atletico did not play poorly and Gameiro will give them an extra cutting edge. Expect them to bounce back and grind out three points in this one, by whatever means necessary.
Kevin Gameiro Anytime Goalscorer at 2.62 with Betfair – Gameiro, scorer of 66 goals in three seasons at Sevilla, is already off the mark for Atletico. His main strength lies in springing the offside trap and making the most of gaps in the opposition defence – so goals late in the game are his forte, expect at least one goal, probably in the second half.
Athletic Club v Barcelona
The Bilbao side got their season off to an underwhelming start, falling to a 2-1 defeat at Sporting Gijon. It could have been worse, the hosts missed a penalty at 2-0 and Athletic’s sole strike came four minutes from time. They are expected to challenge for a European spot this year but it is vital for them that striker Aritz Aduriz retains his strong goal scoring form from last season – which saw him deservedly feature at Euro 2016.
Barcelona have started the season imperiously, without Neymar (due to the Olympics) they defeated Sevilla 5-0 on aggregate in the Supercopa before firing six past their city neighbours Betis in the league opener.
The real plus for Barcelona has not been the form of Luis Suarez or Lionel Messi, but of Arda Turan who after an underwhelming debut campaign is now rekindling the form he showed at Atletico Madrid.
Athletic beat Barcelona 4-0 at San Mames in last season’s Supercopa, before Barca gained revenge with two one-goal victories at the stadium in La Liga and the Copa Del Rey last year. Expect another close encounter.
Take the Draw at 4.85 with Matchbook – As mentioned, these games are usually tight, cagey affairs. San Mames is arguably the most intimidating venue in the league, and the football-mad Basques will be more colourful and passionate than ever in the season’s first home game. The hosts won the fixture three seasons ago and it ended earlier in 2013 too.
Villarreal v Sevilla
This encounter back in March was arguably the game of last season, with Sevilla running out 4-2 victors at home to Villarreal in what had looked to be a battle for the two teams most likely to obtain 4th spot and Champions League football. Ironically, despite the Yellow Submarine getting that league spot, it will be Sevilla and not them who will compete in this season’s premier European club competition due to their Europa League victory.
Villarreal are now managed by Fran Escriba following the shock recent departure of Marcelino who had guided them from Segunda to the Champions League. Their knockout by Monaco has added to their instability and a game against a vibrant Sevilla, now under Jorge Sampaoli, is not an ideal fixture.
Sampaoli’s side may well be the most exciting team in Europe this summer, his high-risk, high-pressing game saw a 6-4 opening day victory and goals both for and against may not be uncommon this season. This game will have goals – Sevilla have won five of the last six clashes.
Sevilla to win at 2.94 with Marathonbet – The Andalucians have a strong record in this fixture and Villarreal had a draining midweek trip to Monaco, in which their spirits were deflated further by defeat.
- Ruben Castro Anytime Goalscorer
- Real v Celta – HT Correct score 0-0
- Kevin Gameiro Anytime Goalscorer
- Bilbao v Barca – Draw
- Sevilla to beat Villarreal