La Liga Betting: Bale's Party To Be Crashed By Atletico In Fascinating Madrid Derby

Real Madrid 1.65, a draw 3.80, Atlético Madrid 5.50

Controversy surrounded Real Madrid's win away at Elche in midweek. Richmond Boakye's header a minute into stoppage time had looked to have given the home side a deserved share of the spoils, but a penalty was then awarded for a dubious foul on Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo dispatched the spot kick to give Los Blancos all three points.

Elche manager Fran Escribá was defiant in defeat, declaring: "my players do not deserve to have to talk about the referee." But his player, Carlos Sanchez, who was adjudged to have fouled the Portuguese defender, did focus on the controversial decision anyway: "they have won thanks to the referee" he concluded. Unsurprisingly, Pepe saw things differently: "he was holding me, grabbing me, blocking me," he insisted, somewhat unconvincingly.

Meanwhile, it's six wins out of six for Real's nearest rivals Atlético, setting up tonight's Madrid derby perfectly. It may turn out to be Gareth Bale's home debut, but I have a feeling his party will be spoiled by a supremely confident Atlético side.

One player who will be determined to upset the apple cart is Atlético forward Diego Costa. The Brazilian has taken on the role of main striker with relative ease this term, notching seven goals so far. Often the chief protagonist in feisty fixtures such as this, he is one of only three Atléti men to have started all league matches. You can get on Costa to strike the first blow in this fascinating match-up at 8.00.

Last season's Copa del Rey final victory means Los Rojiblancos are now over their derby voodoo, and that allied to their early season form means this is by no means a foregone conclusion. Real might be heavy favourites, but this will be an evenly matched encounter.

Expect a quick early tempo - four goals have been scored in the opening quarter of an hour in the last six meetings - and you can back another early goal at odds of 2.65.

Score prediction: 2-2 (11.00)


Real Sociedad 2.10, a draw 3.45, Sevilla 3.50

Both these sides are performing below expectation, but their mitigating circumstances mean perhaps it should have been foreseen.

Real Sociedad now have to contend with the Champions League, any injuries affect the team hugely due to the sparcity of the squad and some players could be accused of mentally only showing up for the big matches.

At Sevilla, the dramatic change of the first eleven saw them propping up the table at the end of last weekend, so their midweek win over Rayo Vallecano was essential.

Boss Unai Emery admitted that his decision to take off striker Kévin Gameiro against Valencia was the wrong-one, but expect the manager to be just as cautious should his team be level towards the end of this battle, as it's a calendar year since Sevilla last won on their travels.

La Real and Los Palanganas have just one win apiece domestically, so each of them will be more than satisfied with a draw at 3.45.

Score prediction: 1-1 (7.00)