Matchday 12 is the last one before the latest unwanted international break, and comes at a time when Real Madrid are working hard to establish some post-Lopetegui stability, but face a tricky trip to the north west to play frequent scorers Celta Vigo (eight goals in their last three outings) in Balaídos, in what looks a must watch (Sun, 7.45pm).
Elsewhere on the coupon, we get to find out if the two Barcelona clubs can stay one and two in the table, as Barca entertain Betis (Sun, 3.15pm), on a day where Espanyol travel to third placed Sevilla (5.30pm).
On a similar theme, these are giddy times for Alavés, who sit within four points of the top and look forward to a very attractive home fixture against bottom team Huesca (Sun, 11.00am).
So, where to look for a possible investment?
Let’s start with the easiest first (famous last words), as Alavés get the Sunday service up and running at the Mendizorrotza, looking to return to the form which saw them pounce on three straight wins prior to their Copa del Rey draw at home to Girona, which preceeded a fiery 2-1 defeat away at Eibar last Sunday.
The hosts here are tough, a shade unpredictable, but nonetheless there’s no fluke about their highly impressive tally of 20 points, with uncompromising boss Abelardo getting a great tune and no short measure of fighting spirit from his group of players.
By contrast these are tough times for Huesca, who were agonisingly close to a precious three points last weekend at home to Getafe, only to be pegged back by a 92nd minute Jorge Vidal strike.
It seems a long time since their 2-1 win at Eibar on the opening weekend, and in that context Alavés look solid accumulator material around the 5/6 mark.
The day before, a game which’ll have no shortage of eyeballs trained on it is Sevilla v Espanyol, which not too many people thought would be third against second this deep into the season.
Can Espanyol keep up their great run and remain in nosebleed territory?
A win here would take them level on points with Barca, (they don’t play ’til Sunday) though not top of the table proper due to inferior goal difference, but the suspicion has to be they’ll settle for a point.
The effect new coach Rubi has had on them has been seismic, carrying on the outstanding work he displayed when taking Huesca up in May, but this will be tough as Sevilla are adjusting well to defeat at Barcelona three weeks ago, taking care of Huesca at home as well as hammering in nine goals against weak opponents in a pair of Europa League ties.
That said, they’ve drawn two of their lat three in all competitions, and with the teams just a point apart they could be hard to split here.
A point would be far from the worst outcome for both, and looks very reasonably priced around the 11/4 mark.
Finally, it’s Atlético versus Athletic Club at the Metropolitano on Saturday (5.30pm), with Atlético Madrid entertaining Athletic Bilbao in an inviting looking home game for Diego Simeone’s side.
Atléti are starting to look much more like their old selves, winning their last three home games to nil, and in doing so proving their thumping away defeat to Borussia Dortmund was a rare off day.
Within four points of the summit after a pretty sticky start, they’ve only conceded six in 11 and can only improve.
Speaking of improve, that’s what the visitors urgently need to do, languishing in 17th with just one win in 11 and a goal difference of minus five.
They have drawn recent away games with Barcelona, Eibar and Rayo Vallecano, but despite having 10 shots and 59% possession they couldn’t find a way through against Espanyol on Monday night, and Atléti are a much better side than them.
It’s an old classic, but Atléti to win to nil is the solution I hope, a 20/21 chance with the majority of firms.
This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:
Sat 5.30pm – Atlético Madrid v Athletic Bilbao – Home Win To Nil
Sun 11.00am – Alavés v Huesca – Home Win
Sun 5.30pm – Espanyol v Sevilla – DrawPosted 1 week, 4 days ago