Getafe 6.50, draw 4.00, Atletico 1.55 – Sunday 20.00 GMT
While this is in theory at least a local derby, Atletico Madrid’s trip to Getafe is about as low profile as can be this weekend, given the noise generated elsewhere in the Spanish capital by Saturday afternoon’s clasico, in which Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1.
It is though a chance for Atletico to quietly make up ground on Barca in the La Liga title race, against an opponent who have put up little resistance in their recent meetings. Getafe have not scored at all through the last seven of these games, with the best result for the suburban side a 0-0 draw at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez two seasons ago.
“I have bad memories of these games,” says Atletico’s former Getafe keeper Miguel Angel Moya. “I want the best for Getafe on all days except this one. For us this is a vital game. We must keep picking up three points.”
Summer signing Moya and his defence have tightened up through recent games, with five clean sheets in their last six appearances in all competitions. Getafe meanwhile have only scored six in their first eight in La Liga, including two late goals from French midfielder Yoda last time out to get a shock 2-1 win at Real Sociedad.
Atletico had not been scoring too many either domestically - but Colchoneros coach Diego Simeone will have been delighted to see new boys Mario Mandzukic, Antoine Griezmann and Alessio Cerci all on the scoresheet in Wednesday’s 5-0 Champions League dismantling of Malmo. This was by far their biggest win of the season, and suggests the Calderon’s summer arrivals are finally getting settled in.
Captain Gabi and regular partner Tiago both missed the Malmo game, but the all home-grown midfield of Mario Suarez, Saul and Koke stepped up impressively. Getafe are without midfielder Michel, who has a knee problem, but welcome back fit again striker Baba Diawara.
“They are super favourites, of course,” Getafe coach Cosmin Contra says. “We are excited about facing up to them, competing with them, and hoping we catch them on a bad day.”
Atletico have not had a bad day against Getafe for quite a while now. And should have few problems winning again this time around.
Prediction: Getafe 0-2 Atletico at 6.75
Best bet: History suggests an Atletico clean sheet at 1.79 is a gimme.
Sevilla 2.05, draw 3.50, Villarreal 3.60 –Sunday 18.00 GMT
Also coming under the radar this weekend is the tasty looking game between potential fourth place challengers Sevilla and Villarreal at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan.
Second placed Sevilla have been mostly in excellent form through recent weeks, but were badly beaten-up 4-0 when they tried to take on Atletico at the Calderon. Villarreal are unbeaten on their travels so far this season, but lost at home to both Barcelona and Real Madrid and now sit seventh. So the impression is of two well-matched teams who are better than most in Spain, but still a notch below the top three.
There’s also a likely mix of styles. Sevilla coach Unai Emery appears not to trust fully in playmakers Denis Suarez and Ever Banega, preferring pace out wide and muscle in midfield. Opposite number Marcelino has his side playing pretty passing football, looking to dominate games through possession. Plus added ‘morbo’ as Marcelino lasted only eight months in charge at the Sanchez Pizjuan during a turbulent 2011-12 campaign.
“Up to now they are all playing perfectly,” the Villarreal coach said after a strong side’s 4-1 win over FC Zurich in the Europa League on Thursday. “They are all bringing something so that the time does not suffer despite the injuries.”
“We have been able to balance out rotations with objectives fulfilled,” Emery said after a much changed line-up toughed out a 0-0 at Standard Liege in the same competition. “I am happy with how the players are performing in all competitions.”
Sevilla’s bigger squad should be an advantage on Sunday, while Villarreal’s injuries could especially hurt as centre-back Mateo Musacchio will be missed when defending set-pieces. So this looks like being a decent game, with both teams scoring, but the home side winning.
Prediction: Sevilla 3-1 Villarreal at 15.00
Best bet: Over 2.5 goals in the game at 1.85
We've Been Nominated For Best Gambling Blog At The 2014 Football Blogging Awards - Vote Here