Top Two to Strike in Barcelona’s Absence

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There is a big weekend of La Liga action as both Madrid sides look to strike a blow in the title race!

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone

With the Copa del Rey final taking centre stage on Saturday, all eight of this weekend’s La Liga fixtures will be played on what promises to be an eventful Sunday in the Spanish top flight.

Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid currently sit first and second respectively in the standings and they both have winnable games this weekend as they look to ramp up the pressure on third-place Barcelona, who will instead be in cup final action against Athletic Bilbao.

Atleti to Edge Past Struggling Eibar

Atletico’s grip at the top of La Liga has been loosened over recent weeks, with a run of just four wins from their last 11 league fixtures seeing the chasing pack close the gap.

A home clash with rock-bottom Eibar could, therefore, be exactly what the doctor ordered for Diego Simeone’s side, with Sunday’s visitors failing to win any of their last 13 top-flight games while they are also the joint-lowest scorers in the division, netting just 22 goals from their 30 games to date.

Goals have also been an issue for Atleti of late, as they have only struck twice in their last five games across all competitions, with the continued injury absence of leading scorer Luis Suarez adding to their woes in the final third.

This certainly does not look like being a classic encounter but it is surely a game that even an out-of-form Atleti side should be able to edge, so backing a home win and under 2.5 goals could prove shrewd at 7/4.

Real Run Set to Continue

Real have been La Liga’s form team over recent months and Zinedine Zidane’s side are unbeaten in 14 matches across all competitions, winning 11 of those games in a sequence that includes last weekend’s victory over Barcelona in El Clasico and their progress through to the semi-finals of the Champions League at the expense of Liverpool.

Los Blancos will now be hoping it is not a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show when they visit Getafe in La Liga on Sunday, with the hosts having slipped to within four points of the relegation zone over recent weeks following a five-match winless run.

Jose Bordalas’ side are also the joint-lowest scorers in La Liga alongside Eibar and they could be in for another fruitless evening on Sunday, with Real boasting the best away record in the division – their only league defeat on their travels this season coming at Valencia in November.

All the signs certainly point towards a Real victory at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez and, given Getafe’s lack of goals, a win to nil at 7/5 looks an intriguing option.

Betis too Good for Poor Travellers Valencia

Real Betis have been one of La Liga’s form sides since the turn of the year, losing just two of their 14 league fixtures in 2021 in a run that has turned them into serious European contenders.

Manuel Pellegrini has got his side playing particularly well on home soil, with only Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have taken points off Betis this side of Christmas at the Estadio Benito Villamarin.

If the form book is anything to go by, Betis’ impressive home form should remain intact when Valencia visit on Sunday, as no team has won fewer La Liga games away from home this season than Los Che.

Indeed, just 10 of Valencia’s 34 points this term have come on their travels, with Javi Gracia’s side having picked up a solitary draw from their last six matches on the road.

Betis also claimed a 2-0 victory when the two teams met at the Mestalla earlier in the season and Los Verdiblancos can be backed at 20/23 to complete the league double over Valencia on Sunday.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A fountain of knowledge on football, Tom offers a particular in-depth expertise in EFL and European leagues.

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