La Liga Predictions and Best Bets – February 19-22, 2021
It hasn’t been a great week for Spain’s top teams, as both Sevilla and Barcelona lost at home in the Champions League. The two Madrid clubs have a chance to redress the balance next week. But there has also been a lot going on in La Liga.
Atletico dropped more points on Wednesday, drawing at Levante, so Real and Barca will feel as though there could still be a title race this year. While Osasuna was the happiest side at the bottom of the league, with almost all of its closest rivals losing or drawing games.
There is another full set of fixtures this weekend, with matchday 24 kicking off on Friday as Getafe travels to Seville to take on Real Betis. The remaining nine games will take place over the next three days – and I’ll be picking out three of the best bets to consider.
Real Betis to Beat Getafe
Something is stirring at Real Betis. Goals from Nabil Fekir and Emerson on either side of halftime were enough to hand all three points to the Seville club last weekend, as it managed to beat Villarreal away from home and stop any chance of the European places drifting away. Another win on Friday would put pressure on Real Sociedad and Villarreal this weekend.
Getafe will be without its head coach on the sideline once again, as Jose Bordalas was shown a red card for the second time in just three games right at the end of the defeat to Real Sociedad. Bordalas took the ball away from an opposing attacker before it had left the pitch and ended another sorry day for the Madrid club. Form and results have been terrible all season – and another defeat on Friday seems most likely.
Elche and Eibar to Draw
There have only been three victories combined for these two clubs since the beginning of November, and the loss to Celta Vigo last Friday was the last straw for Elche. Jorge Almiron was let go, with Fran Escriba taking over as head coach. He has a big job on his hands, though. The odd draw against one of the top sides is not enough, and Elche needs to be winning games now.
The same could be said of Eibar, who currently sits in the slightly better position just above the bottom three – but level on points with Valladolid. Those two played out a 1-1 draw last weekend, with Kike canceling out an early penalty for the visitors. Dropping points against its closest rivals does not suggest that Eibar has what it takes to stay up this season – but a draw is better than another defeat.
Atletico Madrid to Beat Levante
Diego Simeone has an almost instant opportunity for revenge on Saturday, as his Atletico side faces Levante for the second time in just four days. The draw on Wednesday meant that Atleti is six points clear at the top of the table, with a game in hand on Real Madrid. I don’t think Levante will be able to take points from the league leaders again so soon, so the pressure will be back on Los Blancos in the late game on Saturday.
That draw for Levante was completely deserved – and the Valencia club even went ahead thanks to a goal from North Macedonia international Enis Bardhi with about a quarter of an hour played. Levante was unable to keep out Atletico for the remainder of the game, but it was another impressive performance from a side that looks as though it will comfortably escape a relegation scrap this season.
Celta Vigo to Beat Valencia
Valencia was almost invisible in its game against Real Madrid last weekend – and the only surprise is that the champions only managed to score two against Javi Gracia’s side. It is a troubling time at Mestalla at the moment, and there seems to be a lot of problems on and off the pitch at the club. A few good results might mask all that, but I can’t see it happening this weekend.
That’s because Celta Vigo is prospering from the return of the talismanic Iago Aspas, probably the most important player in La Liga. Celta just can’t seem to compete without him and, although he failed to score again last week, the 3-1 win over Elche was heavily Aspas-influenced. Another couple of victories and the Galician club could be competing for European qualification again.
Real Madrid to Beat Valladolid
It remains just one win since the middle of December for Valladolid – and although last weekend’s draw away at Eibar should probably be considered a good result, there needs to be more points coming the way of Sergio’s side now. There seemed to be some hope after an early penalty gave Valladolid the lead last weekend, but it was a familiar story of not being able to see out a game.
Real Madrid will probably not give Valladolid a chance to get anywhere near winning the points on Saturday, as Zinedine Zidane’s men look to keep up with Atletico at the top of the table. It was an extremely comfortable win against Valencia on Sunday – and the champions should really have won by more than two goals. But the points were won, and the Atletico’s draw on Wednesday gives new hope to Real for the second half of the season.
Barcelona to Beat Cadiz
Barcelona can probably forget about winning the Champions League this season after the 4-1 thrashing handed out by Kylian Mbappe and PSG on Tuesday. But results in La Liga have been much better – the 5-1 win against Alaves last weekend was the 12th in a row without defeat. There are, of course, plenty of problems on and off the field for Barca to sort out – but as long as it remains in the hunt for another league title, they will probably be left for another day.
Cadiz would probably rather be playing anyone other than Barca, just days after the Catalans’ heavy European defeat. There have been some good results for Cadiz this season, but four defeats in a row have seen the promoted club plummet down the table – and it sits just three points from the drop zone now. It conceded three goals before halftime to a rampant Atheltic Club last weekend and could be in for a similar beating on Sunday.
Real Sociedad to Beat Alaves
Real Sociedad has arrested the alarming slump in form just before Christmas to come back into the race for a Champions League spot with some good wins recently. Swedish striker Aleksander Isak scored yet again for La Real last weekend as it beat Getafe to go back up to fifth. There is a slight gap between it and the top four, but another win this Sunday should help with that.
Alaves will be happy just to not concede another avalanche of goals after the heavy defeat at the Camp Nou last week. New coach Abelardo had seemed to turn things around with a couple of very important results against relegation rivals. But the gulf between Alaves and Barca was just too great. To be honest, if Alaves can concentrate on beating the weaker sides in La Liga, it should be just about ok.
Granada to Beat Huesca
Huesca threw everything at Sevilla on Saturday – including a Rafa Mir effort from 60 yards that only narrowly missed – but ended up on the losing side once again. Pacheta has definitely improved the feeling around the club since joining as head coach in the middle of January, but it is going to be a tough task to stay up this year. Granada might not give the bottom-placed side many chances on Sunday.
Granada was unlucky to be beaten by Atletico on Saturday when a deflected shot gave the leaders all three points. But Yangel Herrera had also enjoyed a touch of luck with his own deflected goal for the home side around ten minutes earlier. It’s five games without a win for Granada now, but with this game and then Elche up next, head coach Diego Martinez shouldn’t be too worried.
Athletic Club to Beat Villarreal
Athletic is routinely praised for the style of soccer it plays, but the points aren’t always as forthcoming. That has been the same story for Marcelino since he took over as head coach at the beginning of January – but everything worked out perfectly last weekend. The 4-0 win over Cadiz was full of glorious attacking moves, ended with some truly exquisite goals. If that can be repeated this Sunday, Atheltic could pick up another three points.
Villarreal will be in no mood to roll over for the Basque side, though. The Yellow Submarine lost a huge game against Real Betis last weekend and will know that another defeat could mean dropping out of the European places for the first time since September. There could be some tired players after the Europa League game in Austria on Thursday, though – and Athletic could make that fatigue tell.
Sevilla to Beat Osasuna
Osasuna was bottom of the league at the end of last year – and still only 19th towards the end of January. But a good run of form, including winning three of its last four games, has seen the Pamplona club climb up to 12th and enjoy the struggles of its closest rivals. There was even a saved penalty in the victory over Levante last week, so the confidence is sky-high at the moment.
But Sevilla will be keen to put the home Champions League defeat to Dortmund in the week behind it, as it looks to consolidate its top-four position. Lucas Ocampos was, once again, absent after that horror challenge in the game against Getafe, but there is some hope for an earlier than expected return. Sevilla should still be able to win this one without the Argentinian attacker, though.
My Top La Liga Picks for February 19-22, 2021
Here are my three betting picks for this week’s La Liga games on matchday 24. Odds are courtesy of Betway.
- Real Betis to beat Getafe – 2.05
- Granada to beat Huesca – 3.60
- Athletic Club to beat Villarreal – 2.60
My first pick this week is for Real Betis to continue its fine recent run of form and overcome one of the clubs really struggling in the Spanish top-flight at the moment. Getafe has dropped like a stone after just missing out on Champions League qualification last season – and could well trouble the relegation fight this time around.
Huesca will definitely be involved in a relegation battle, but there is some hope for the bottom-placed club, as a new manager has had a positive effect. But Granada has also looked very good this season – and I feel as though the experience of the front players can force the victory here.
My final pick for matchday 24 is for Athletic to continue its recent success by beating Villarreal at San Mames. It is not always the most consistent team in La Liga, but the performance against Cadiz last week was a joy to watch – and I feel that performance can be repeated against another of the top sides in the late game on Sunday.