La Liga Betting: Barca to bounce back from European disappointment


It's the first time in 40 years that Atlético Madrid has reached the semi-finals of the European Cup as they beat Barcelona 1-0. 

"We’ll maintain the same humility. After 40 years we’re back in a nice place," said manager Diego Simeone  after the match.

The club is rightfully attracting the praise and attention of world's media, but no one at the Vicente Calderón is getting carried away. 

"The coach congratulated us but told us to keep working because we have not achieved anything and titles are played later in the season," said midfielder and captain Gabi.

Atletico face Getafe on Sunday, but before that their two title rivals are in action on Saturday evening.

 

Granada 11.00, a draw 6.60, Barcelona 1.25

Granada are only three points from the drop zone and have lost their last three matches. Manager Lucas Alcaraz has set his team a target: "It’s clear that we need two more wins," Alcaraz told a press conference. "And we have to get them somehow." 

With home matches against Rayo Vallecano and Almería to come, the coach will be confident of doing just that. He would gladly take a draw with the defending champions in town. 

Barcelona's elimination from Europe means that the focus has returned to the pitch once more. Gerardo Martino's style, tactics, selection and his use of Lionel Messi are all up for debate, with the conclusions looking less favourable each time for the Argentinean manager.

Xavi ran more than any other Barcelona player on Wednesday night and is in need of a rest, though Martino's rotations are difficult to predict at present. It will probably be Cesc Fàbregas and Neymar taking a seat on the bench, with Pedro and Alexis Sánchez adding some pace and directness to the attack. Try Sánchez for first goal at 5.75

Barcelona have beaten Granada by one goal in their last two visits to Los Cármenes, whilst the home side has lost by a solitary goal to Atlético and Real Madrid this season. A 3-way handicap with Granada starting at 1-0 will fetch you 4.00 by choosing the draw. 

Score Prediction: Granada 1 Barcelona 2 8.00

 

Real Madrid 1.05, a draw 15.00, Almería 35.00

Real Madrid also lost this week and were given an almighty scare against Borussia Dortmund. Ángel di María's missed penalty spurred the Germans on and they scored moments later. 

Los Blancos were slow and lethargic, whilst Dortmund played at a high tempo. "We’re happy to reach the semis, but not happy as we suffered a lot," said Carlo Ancelotti after the game.

Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to miss the next two weeks with a hamstring injury, which means he will be out of Wednesday's Copa del Rey final. The onus will now be on Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema to provide the goals. Back the Frenchman at 4.25 to open the scoring at the Bernabéu. 

Only Real Betis are below Almería in the league, but they are just a point from getting out the relegation area. They have not won on the road this year and lost their last seven. 

Scoring goals hasn't been an issue, as they are the 12th highest scorers in the division, but in the bottom three for conceding them. They have managed to score against the rest of the top five. 

For Almería to score its 1.85 or you could opt for an ambitious over 1.5 goals for the away team at 5.25.

Score Prediction: Real Madrid 4 Almería 2 26.00

 

Real Betis 3.20, a draw 3.40, Sevilla 2.25

It could be the last Andalusian derby in a while, though it's the fourth one of this season. The two clubs are always desperate to beat their rivals, but this game has added significance as their fortunes could not be more contrasting. 

Real Betis sits nine points from safety at the foot of the table, whilst Sevilla are six points from a Champions League placing. 

The away side has won three out of the last six meetings between the teams. Real Betis has scored only one goal at the Benito Villamarín against the rest of the top five. For Real Betis not to score it's a decent 3.20.

Score Prediction: Real Betis 0 Sevilla 2 11.00