La Liga Predictions and Best Bets – December 11-14, 2020
Last week saw Atletico Madrid go top of the league and continue its incredible defensive record. Diego Simeone’s side has only conceded two goals all season and overtook Real Sociedad, who could only draw with Alaves on Sunday.
But it was another week to forget for Barcelona. The Blaugrana lost away to Cadiz on Saturday to remain mid-table – and then lost 3-0 at home to Juventus in the Champions League in the week. Barca still progressed to the next round, but there are some very anxious faces at the club right now.
The big game on matchday 13 is the Madrid derby. But there are nine other interesting looking fixtures in La Liga this weekend – and I’m going to take a look at all of them here. I’ll also pick out my three best bets as well.
Valladolid to Beat Osasuna
It’s a bottom of the table clash to kick things off this week in Spain as Valladolid welcome Osasuna to the Estadio Jose Zarilla. The home side managed to keep Atleti to just two goals last week – and that can be seen as something of an achievement. Results have not been too bad in the last few weeks, and Valladolid looks to be in a better place than its opponent this Friday.
Osasuna actually started the season fairly brightly – and was high as seventh in the table after seven games. But results have dipped since then, and last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat to Real Betis made it five weeks without a win. Jagoba Arrasate’s side was actually one of just two to manage to score against the current league leaders, but there have been no goals at all in the last two games, and this weekend could be another struggle.
Valencia to Beat Athletic Bilbao
Valencia was unable to get past a stubborn Eibar on Monday but should have more luck in the early kick-off this Saturday. The Eibar keeper pulled off some spectacular saves to deny Valencia, and players like Uros Racic will be hoping that the Athletic defense is easier to break down. The Serbian midfielder had an absolute rocket flicked away in that game and will feel as though he is owed a goal.
Athletic might be the team to give him the goal he craves, as the Basque club lost last Friday and is starting to look like it will struggle once again this season. It was Celta Vigo who came away from San Mames on Friday with all three points, and although the Galician side looks improved after its managerial change, it would still have been a game that Bilbao would have expected to win.
Sevilla to Beat Getafe
Getafe handed Levante its first home win of the season last weekend as it was thumped 3-0. To be quite honest, it could have been much more, as Getafe’s keeper kept his side just about in the game throughout. The Madrid club also had two players sent off and was forced to play with just nine men for the last quarter of an hour. The Getafe defense was being ripped apart long before the end, though – and manager Jose Bordales will need to work out how to get his team to win a game for the first time since October on Saturday.
That winless streak could well continue, however, as Sevilla remains in the upper reaches of the table even after its defeat to Real Madrid last week. Julen Lopetegui was unable to overcome his former employer, and Sevilla was second best for the majority of the game – even if it took an own goal by the keeper to finally separate the two sides. But that defeat ended a three-game winning run by Sevilla, and I think the club from the south can start another successful streak this Saturday.
Alaves to Beat Huesca
Huesca very nearly managed to record its first win of the season last weekend but ended up trading goals with Granada to finish off with a 3-3 draw. But Michel’s side had been 3-1 up with just two minutes to go before the home side headed in goals in the 88th and 90th minutes to shatter Huesca’s hopes. It does look like it is going to be like that for the whole season for the La Liga new boys – and Alaves may not give it as many chances to win this Saturday.
The Basque club is enjoying a very good spell of games at the moment, having not lost since the middle of October. It has drawn with Barcelona and beaten Real Madrid in that time and managed to hold the then league leaders Real Sociedad to a goalless draw at home on Sunday. Alaves even had to make do with ten men, once again, after having Rodrigo Battaglia sent off with half an hour to go. If Alaves can keep all its players on the pitch for the full 90 this Saturday, it should have a good chance of keeping that unbeaten run going.
Atletico Madrid to Beat Real Madrid
Luis Suarez returned to face Valladolid last week after missing four games because of a positive COVID test but was unable to add to his goal tally in what turned out to be a fairly routine win. Second half substitution Marcos Llorente was the real star of the showup front, scoring the second and looking dangerous throughout. But it was the Atleti defense that once again stood firm – with Kieran Trippier looking particularly good – and Real Madrid will do well to get past it on Saturday.
Real Madrid hasn’t lost a derby game against Atletico in the league since 2015, but things are looking very different this season. Although Los Blancos will be happy to see Barcelona struggling further down the table, Zinidine Zidane’s side has not been playing in top gear itself either as yet. Real completely deserved its victory over Sevilla last weekend but will find Diego Simeone’s defensive unit far harder to break down.
Real Sociedad to Beat Eibar
La Real relinquished its position at the top of La Liga last weekend as it failed to get past a stubborn Alaves. Even having an extra player for the last 15 minutes couldn’t help the Basque club to win the three points. But is still proving to be an excellent season for Real Sociedad as it goes into this game unbeaten in its last eight and having only lost once in the league so far. There may be a few worries that back-to-back draws signal a downturn, but it should get back to winning ways in the early game on Sunday.
Eibar will be no pushover, however. The La Liga minnows have proven very difficult to break down once again this season, and Valencia could not find a way last weekend, with keeper Marko Dmitrovic in fine form in particular. Only the top two have conceded fewer goals than Eibar this season, but it is up the other end where it has found things more difficult. One of those top two is Real Sociedad, of course – and it is the home side that should be the happier this weekend.
Villarreal to Beat Real Betis
Betis turned around a three-game losing streak last weekend to beat Osasuna and catapult itself back up the table into eighth. It was a good win for Betis, with Nabil Fekir at the center of most of the attacking movements the team made. It did actually benefit from VAR canceling out a goal for Osasuna in the first half – but anything but a win would have been harsh for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. It might find this weekend’s fixture a little harder, though.
Villarreal completely dominated its game with Elche last weekend but was unable to take all three points – and can look to its lack of real goal-scoring chances as the main reason for that. The Yellow Submarine didn’t really test the Elche keeper and was unable to take the three points. More worrying was the news that Paco Alcacer will probably be out for at least another month after limping off only 30 minutes after coming on as a second-half sub. His goals will be missed this weekend, but Villarreal should still be able to come away from Seville with a win.
Elche and Granada to Draw
Both these sides drew on matchday 12 – and there is a very good chance that there might be a repeat performance this Sunday. Elche’s defense did all the hard work once again as it came away from Villarreal with a very good point. The Alicante team made very few opportunities for itself throughout but was still able to come away from a club in the top three with a draw. That was the fourth game in a row for Elche that ended in a draw, and I would not be surprised if this was to be the fifth.
Granada put on a far more exciting display in its draw last week as it finished up 3-3 with Huesca, scoring two goals in the last few minutes. The entire squad is only just getting over a spate of positive COVID tests that derailed the team’s chances in the opening months of this season. It is just about getting back to normal now, but a win away at draw specialists Elche might be asking too much.
Barcelona to Beat Levante
This fixture should be far easier to predict, but with the way things are going this season, even a Barcelona home win is not as straightforward as it used to be. It has been another horrible week for Barcelona, as it lost to Cadiz last weekend before being soundly beaten by Juventus at home in the week. Lionel Messi played in both of those games after being rested for the previous Champions League game but could do nothing to stop defensive errors handing Cadiz an unlikely win – and Ronaldo, the upper hand in their own personal battle.
Levante will come into this one with confidence high after a good win against Getafe last weekend. It was helped by the Madrid club finishing the game with only nine players – but the truth is that Levante was dominant from start to finish as it ended a five-game streak of 1-1 draws. Those draws have meant that the club has not been able to escape the lower reaches of the table, and it could drop into the bottom three with a defeat on Sunday.
Celta Vigo to Beat Cadiz
Celta Vigo and Cadiz round off matchday 13 on Monday – and both clubs will be on a high after recent results. Back-to-back wins against Granada and Athletic Bilbao have completely changed the mood at Celta, and new boss Eduardo Coudet is seemingly having an effect on the players. Iago Aspas is the throbbing heart of the team as ever, but there is more belief throughout the squad now, and even Cadiz’s recent good form will not frighten Celta.
Cadiz has now beaten Real Madrid away from home and Barcelona at the Estadio Ramon de Carranza and is obviously enjoying its first season back in the Spanish top flight since 2006. It was extremely fortunate to profit from some shocking defensive and goalkeeping mistakes from Barcelona on Saturday, but it took the chances it was given and climbed into fifth position in the process. But Monday’s fixture could be even trickier.
My Top La Liga Picks for December 11-14, 2020
- Valencia to beat Athletic Bilbao – 3.10
- Atletico Madrid to beat Real Madrid – 3.00
- Elche and Granada to draw – 3.10
Betway has some good-looking odds covering all the La Liga games this weekend. But these are three that stand out for me.
Athletic looks to be on a bit of a downward spiral at the moment, and I would not be surprised if we see a change of management at San Mames soon. That could happen even quicker if Valencia does manage to win on Saturday.
The big game in La Liga this weekend is the Madrid derby, and I think this is the best chance in quite a while for Atletico to come away with a win. Diego Simeone’s side has been incredible this season and will not give Karim Benzema, or any of the Real forwards, many opportunities to score. It will be a closely fought encounter, but I fancy Atleti to come out on top.
The final pick for the weekend is for Elche to keep up its form of late and draw another game – this time against Granada. Both managers would probably be quite happy with that outcome, and the odds for a stalemate do look inviting.