Strung as it is across five pre-Christmas days and nights, jornada 17 has a rather ungainly and yet highly entertaining theme to it, meaning it’s heaven for couch potatoes, who get to feast on a range of fixtures such as the basement battle between Alaves and Malaga, the Valencian community derby between Valencia and Villarreal, plus of course the ticking time-bomb which is the Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona on Saturday at midday.
More than enough to get the juices flowing, but where punters are concerned we might have to delve a bit deeper…
One side that are simply screaming out to be supported are impossible to play against Getafe, who despite modest resources rarely get beat by more than one or two, frequently upset the odds by beating higher ranked sides – just ask recent victims Valencia and Villarreal, and also are capable of roughing up the league’s aristocracy when required.
Their positive goal difference is testament to that, and at 4/5 tonight they look simply too good to miss at home to rock-bottom Las Palmas, comfortably the worst team in La Liga, and plummeting rapidly.
The islanders may well have salvaged a draw on Sunday against Espanyol, but they were a shambles for 70 minutes, and won’t find such leniency in the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez this evening.
Their goal difference of -23 highlights their defensive headaches, and up against a spiny team like Getafe it’s unlikely they’ll be returning home from Madrid with much more than another hangover.
In a set of fixtures that look very tough to call, I’m then going to wait until Friday night for selection number two, with Atletico Madrid the call to return home from Barcelona with their tails up, having beaten Espanyol away, meaning of a fashion it’s Madrid v Barcelona twice in less than 24 hours.
This might not be a vintage Atleti we are witnessing, still understandably taking time to bed in at the Wanda Metropolitano, and with rumours continuing to fly about Antoine Griezmann, plus Diego Costa still unable to feature, they’ve been grinding rather than entertaining, though this has left them second and undefeated with 10 wins and six draws for 36 points.
I think this’ll be 11 wins and 39 points, as they travel to face an underwhelming Espanyol, one who sit 16th and very much within reach of the jaws of the relegation places in the new year.
Absurdities like letting a two goal lead slip at Las Palmas might yet come to cost them dear, and Atleti have more than enough quality to put them away here.
Effective rather than beautiful, Atleti it is for the away win as we head into the winter break.
Good luck and Feliz Navidad!
This week’s best bets in La Liga:
6.30pm (Wed) – Getafe v Las Palmas – Home Win @ 4/5 (BetVictor)
8.30pm (Fri) – Espanyol v Atletico Madrid – Away Win @ 4/5 (Betfred)