The La Liga table is beginning to take shape with the cream steadily rising to the top, with the exception of Barcelona. Ronald Koeman’s side can ill-afford any more slip-ups if they want to be a contender in this season’s title race.
Despite a perfect three from three in the Champions League, which includes a win at Juventus, the Catalan giants have not won in four matches in the league and are languishing down in 12th place in the table, nine points off top and, perhaps more importantly, eight points behind Real Madrid.
Barca do have at least one game in hand on many of their rivals but they must surely rediscover the winning feeling sooner rather than later if they are to have a chance of regaining the title.
The four-game winless run has seen them lose El Clasico at Camp Nou, as well as being beaten at Getafe, while they have been held by Sevilla at home and Deportivo Alaves away.
Standing in their way on Saturday are Real Betis, a Jekyll and Hyde sort of team that has won as many as they have lost, with nothing in between, while they can win well or lose ugly.
Betis are seventh in the table but only four teams have conceded more goals than Manuel Pellegrini’s men, with only four also having scored more.
Los Beticos have made it a habit of giving Barcelona a game of late too, having won 4-3 at Camp Nou two seasons ago before going down 5-2 last year, and the home side emerging victorious with both sides scoring at
21/20 could be the way to go.
Cadiz to Make Atleti Work
Elsewhere, Atletico have started the domestic campaign in title-contender fashion, unbeaten after six games, winning four and drawing two, and they take on the early surprise package of Cadiz in Saturday’s late game.
Cadiz’s return to the top flight after a 14-year absence didn’t begin particularly well, losing two of their first three games, but they have strung together a five-match unbeaten streak to rise to fifth in the table, level on points with Atletico immediately above them, with a worse goal difference.
Alvaro Cervera has made his side a tough nut to crack, conceding just six goals so far, but what makes them a threat is their away record – perfect so far with four wins from four, which includes a 1-0 win at the Bernabeu against the champions.
Cadiz have also kept clean sheets in every one of their away successes and Diego Simeone’s side are going to have to work hard for the win.
Given the talent in their squad, that is something that is eminently achievable but don’t expect a raft of goals in this one, with a home win and under 2.5 goals worthy of consideration at
Sunday’s Early Game Could Hit the Spot
Villarreal have the chance to go top of the table on Sunday, however briefly, but face a tough test when they travel to sixth-placed Granada in the early kick-off.
The Yellow Submarine have lost only one of their opening eight games but have yet to win on the road, and it will not be a surprise if they were made to wait longer as Getafe have made the Coliseum Alfonso Perez something of a fortress in these early stages, winning three of four in an unbeaten home campaign, while conceding just two goals.
What should be considered, though, is a penalty being given in the match, with over 0.5 penalties on offer at
43/20, with half of Villarreal’s games seeing one so far, while there has been a spot-kick in each of Getafe’s last four.
*All odds correct at time of writing