Archive for September, 2018

25 Sep
2018

In A Liga Of Its Own…(25 & 27 Sept)

Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing seven of the last 10 finalists in the Champions League, as well as seven of the last 10 winners.

What’s more, Atlético Madrid’s win after extra time in Estonia means nine of the last 10 European Super Cups have gone to a Spanish side, in a period where a stunning 21 of the 30 available European trophies, Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup, have headed in the same direction.

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…

The game that sticks out on the coupon on this midweek ‘jornada 6’ is Alavés v Getafe (Thur, 7pm), with the Basque side in nosebleed territory as they occupy third position in the early league table.

That lofty perch comes after three wins on the bounce, the latest being a merciless 5-1 pumping away from home for promoted but already struggling Rayo Vallecano.

The Mendizorrotza side have their eye in, no question, and look cracking value at 7/4 at home against a Getafe outfit who’ve been a bit of everything so far this campaign, beating Eibar and Sevilla but also losing twice and drawing 0-0 in a snoozefest against Valladolid, off the back of which they’re 10th.

Surely the Alavés bubble will burst fairly soon, but in the meantime let’s try and strike while the iron’s hot and the goals are flowing, and that hopefully means a fourth Alavés win of the season at an attractive price.

Way before that, Tuesday night has three games to get the midweek juices flowing, the middle one of which is Real Sociedad against wounded Rayo Vallecano.

It’s been a bumpy reintroduction to life in the top flight for the Vallecas (Madrid) side, conceding four at home against Sevilla as well as that drubbing last weekend at the hands of Alavés.

That can’t have been comfortable, and the pain is unlikely to dissipate when they make the long journey north to take on La Real.

Perhaps new boss Asier Garitano needs to take the handbrake off and let his team swarm forward in a more aggressive and attacking style, but there’s no question they’ve got plenty of quality (especially Asier Illarramendi) and they come into this in good spirits after taking all three points away to Huesca on Friday night.

At 8/13 or 4/7 this looks a gilt-edged opportunity to record consecutive victories for the home side.

Good luck!

This week’s best bets in La Liga:

8.00pm Tues – Real Sociedad v Rayo Vallecano – Home Win

7.00pm Thur – Alaves v Getafe – Home Win

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Posted 3 weeks ago

23 Sep
2018

In A Liga Of Its Own…(23 Sept)

Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing seven of the last 10 finalists in the Champions League, as well as seven of the last 10 winners.

What’s more, Atlético Madrid’s win after extra time in Estonia means nine of the last 10 European Super Cups have gone to a Spanish side, in a period where a stunning 21 of the 30 available European trophies, Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup, have headed in the same direction.

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…

Currently in Spain on a sweltering weekend which has already seen Atlético Madrid back up their midweek Champions League with a solid 0-2 win away to Getafe, Celta Vigo and Real Valladolid share six goals at Balaídos, plus Alaves get five away from home against promoted but second bottom Rayo Vallecano, i’m hoping there’s more good entertainment to come today.

Perhaps the most interesting clash of the day is the Valencian derby clash between Villarreal and Valencia (3.15pm), with two distinctly out of sorts sides looking to kick-start their respective campaigns at El Madrigal.

A lopsided 15th versus 18th is about where no-one saw these two being after four matchdays had taken place, but that’s where we find ourselves in a game which could easily end in a share of the spoils.

The Yellow Submarine nicked the corresponding fixture 1-0 back in May, and come into this off the back of a scruffy 1-0 Liga away win at Leganes, plus a 2-2 on Thursday night against Rangers in the Europa League.

That means they’ve got a goal or two in them, whereas the visitors were undone by 10-man Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday, and prior to that had drawn three of their opening four.

It’s relevant though that the other local Valencian derby this month, Levante against Valencia three weeks ago, finished 2-2, and this could be another effective fixture upon which to play the ‘Draw & both teams to score’ card, which comes out at around 7/2 depending on where you shop around.

Both are struggling but capable of finding the net.

Another big talking point over here this week has been the Spanish FA (RFEF) vowing (correctly in my opinion) to block the proposed La Liga game between Girona and Barcelona in Miami in January.

La Liga had tried to introduce the concept to a rightly hostile reaction, trying to smooth the way for future fixtures to be played across the atlantic at the likes of the Hard Rock Stadium.

I for one pray that doesn’t occur, though in the meantime the two sides meet in the Nou Camp on Sunday night (7.45pm), Barca top and playing with freedom and verve, something evident in midweek in the Champions Leagus as they hammered PSV Eindhoven 4-0.

They’ll almost certainly win this one in a canter as well, but don’t forget the conceded two against minnows Huesca recently and don’t mind opening the door occasionally.

For that reason, once again the ‘result & both teams to score’ option becomes a live wire, turning Barca from prohibitive 1/9 shots into a 5/4 option – just hope Girona can hold on to some local pride and pinch a goal as they did in the corresponding 6-1 mauling last winter.

Good luck!

Sunday’s best bets in La Liga:

3.15pm – Villarreal v Valencia – Draw & Both teams to score

7.45pm – Barcelona v Girona – Home win & Both teams to score

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Posted 3 weeks, 2 days ago

14 Sep
2018

In A Liga Of Its Own…(8 Sept, 2018)

Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing seven of the last 10 finalists in the Champions League, as well as seven of the last 10 winners.

What’s more, Atlético Madrid’s win after extra time in Estonia means nine of the last 10 European Super Cups have gone to a Spanish side, in a period where a stunning 21 of the 30 available European trophies, Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup, have headed in the same direction.

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…

It probably says much about the first three weeks of the new Spanish top flight campaign that this Saturday’s Valencia v Real Betis clash (5.30pm), widely expected to be two of the great flair teams and free-scoring entertainers in this league, represents 17th against 13th at the Mestalla.

Results have, to put it mildly, been all over the place.

Maybe it’s a hangover from Spain’s limp surrender in the World Cup in Russia, perhaps there’s fatigue or some other associated factor in play, but for whatever reason (unless your name is Barcelona or Real Madrid, both of whom have been gifted relatively straightforward opening games) picking winners has been like a game of pinball.

Back from the hated international break, it’s therefore a relatively low key strategy for matchday four…

Talked of as potential champions for the first time since 2014 after holding on to the likes of Griezmann, Oblak and Godin in the transfer window, pus making some eyecatching additions, Atlético Madrid are regulars in this column, and generally profitably so.

Not two weeks ago though, as they schlepped all the way to Galicia to produce a woeful display in front of a handful of dismayed away fans, losing 2-0 to Celta Vigo and having Montenegrin defender Stefan Savić sent off for good measure.

That they failed to register a single shot on target is an indictment of their limp effort there, and they’ll want to sharpen themselves with a Champions League trip to Monaco to come on Tuesday night.

With that in mind, they’ll be grateful to have been allocated a home game against Eibar at midday UK-time on Saturday, a gilt edged opportunity to blow away the cobwebs and find some form.

I like the idea of them coming out of the traps good and quick against the Basque side, who won last time out but lost their two opening fixtures.

I spy some firms offering Even money about Atleti to be winning at half time, an offer I hope turns out to be too good to miss.

My other fancy also comes on Saturday, this time in the evening kick-off (7.45pm) at San Mamés as Athletic Bilbao entertain Real Madrid.

Both have begun well, Real sitting second only on goal difference behind Barcelona with a perfect three from three and only two conceded, while the hosts are sixth with a win and a draw from only two outings to date, though that really ought to be two from two as they allowed Huesca to snatch a point last time out despite spending a few minutes coasting at 2-0 up.

That aside, this won’t be an easy mission for the Madrileños, who so far have been on easy street with games against Getafe, Girona and Leganes, and what’s more both games between these two ended up in a draw in 2017/18.

Additionally, Real could well have one eye on their forthcoming midweek Champions League tie against Roma, and a draw could well be the outcome here.

Goals are likely, so the ‘Draw & Both Teams To Score’ outcome could be the way to play it – a 4/1 shot with the majority of bookmakers.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

12.00 Sat – Atlético Madrid v Eibar – Atleti to be winning at half time

7.45 Sat – Athletic Bilbao v Real Madrid – Draw & Both Teams To Score

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Posted 1 month ago

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