04 Mar

In A Liga Of Its Own (5th & 6th March)

Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing five of the last six finalists in the Champions League, as well as five of the last eight winners.

It doesn’t stop there either, with teams from Spain also ruling the roost in Europe’s second tier tournament, the Europa League, taking four of the last five editions, highlighted by triumphs for goal happy Sevilla in 2014, ’15 and ’16.

Enthused by a domestic league bursting with quality and rivalry, the Sportsman’s Tom Lee, a regular visitor to Spain and its football grounds, takes a weekly look at the best bets on the fixture list…

Aches, pains and the odd complaint of fatigue might not be uncommon in dressing rooms around Spain this weekend, follow a period in which many teams have shoehorned in game after game after game, especially the likes of high-flying Sevilla, who played on Thursday night and are also halfway through their round of 16 Champions League tie against Leicester .

Preparations are already underway at rock-bottom Osasuna for life in the Segunda next season, and they haven’t got much time to lick their wounds after Wednesday night’s 4-1 mauling by Villarreal, heading to the Canary Islands on Sunday afternoon to take on Las Palmas (5.30pm).

Sitting in 12th position, the islanders will be delighted to see the back of February, a month in which they battled hard but lost four straight in the league.

That form appeared to be left well behind on Wednesday night though, as they came within a whisker of a famous victory against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu.

Playing against 10 men and 3-1 up with four minutes to play, they eventually had to settle for a point after the award of a very harsh penalty for handball, conceding twice to Cristiano Ronaldo, once from the spot and once from his forehead.

This’ll be much easier though, and at 8/13 with any of Betway, Boylesports or Hills they look solid.

My suggestion is to back them in a double with Sevilla, for whom the door is ajar to a possible La Liga/Champions League double.

With Madrid and Barca doing their very best to gift them a way back to the top of the table, they can’t afford to slip up away to Copa Del Rey finalists Alaves on Monday night (7.45pm).

Sitting in 11th, you can forgive Alaves for being a little distracted by their forthcoming big day, one minute losing 0-6 to Barca, the next outing together consecutive league victories against Deportivo and Valencia.

They struggled down south against Granada on Wednesday night though, and I expect Sevilla to take care of them with a bit to spare.

Jorge Sampaoli’s team play bold, pacy, aggressive, attacking football, and should have enough up their sleeve to nail the three points here and keep their title bid rolling.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

Sun 5.30pm – LAS PALMAS v Osasuna – Home Win @ 8/13 (Betway)

Mon 7.45pm – Alaves v SEVILLA (Away Win) @ Evens (William Hill)

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Turn TurkThe Scout (Daily Express)
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