Valencia on the rise again?
The Spanish league returns with exciting news that soon there could be another force within La Liga.
Valencia are the last team to win the Primera División outside Barcelona and Real Madrid. Now they are the subject of a bid from Singapore businessman Peter Lim, as he aims to take over the club’s shares, clear the substantial debt, supply funds for the new stadium and provide €30-40m during this transfer window.
"The offer remains on the table until January 15th," explained club President Amadeo Salvo who would stay in role.
Now, to the action on the pitch:
Barcelona 1.08, the draw 10.00, Elche 25.00
Barcelona spent the entirety of 2013 at the top of the table, but still there's work to do to appease fans and the media alike.
The opening 15 minutes against Getafe had been a disaster from the Catalans' point of view, with coach Gerardo Martino describing it as "awful." Then a nine minute hat-trick from Pedro saved Barça's blushes as they came back from 2-0 down to win 5-2. It was the fastest treble in Barcelona's history and the impact shouldn't be undervalued. The winger is now their leading scorer with 10 goals. Back the man from Tenerife to score first here at 5.40.
Elche are hovering precariously above the relegation zone with only two points separating them from the bottom three. They have picked up just four points from a possible 18 and a trip to the Camp Nou holds little hope of improvement.
With Víctor Valdés and Neymar back in contention Barça should grow in strength. Lionel Messi is expected to miss out again, but should feature in the Copa Del Rey during the week after scoring a hat-trick in an open training session. Dani Alves has suffered from a virus so remains a doubt.
In the last two league games Martino's men have been leading by one goal at half-time, so try the three-way handicap for the first half with it starting 0-1, so the draw gives out 2.90.
Score Prediction: Barcelona 4 Elche 0 (7.00)
Real Madrid 1.10, the draw 9.00, Celta Vigo 22.00
Key figures at Real Madrid addressed the public and supporters with an underlying theme; 'La Decima.'
Their infatuation with regaining the Europe's top prize still burns bright and they aren't shy in showing it. "Maybe we're a little obsessed with the tenth European Cup, and it's what we all want the most," admits President Florentino Pérez. Carlo Ancelotti is just as open: "It is a great motivation for everyone and we will try to do our best to win it in 2014."
Domestically they sit five points from the league leaders knowing they can't afford to drop points at home, and they shouldn’t here.
Cristiano Ronaldo hit a treble the last time Celta arrived at the Bernabéu, and he is 3.05 to open the scoring against them on Monday evening.
However Celta Vigo provide more goals on their travels than at home as Luis Enrique enables his team to take advantage of the extra space afforded to them. The 3-0 defeat at Real Valladolid does distort this slightly, though they did hit five at Màlaga and three at Real Sociedad.
Thirteen of Los Blancos’ previous 20 goals have arrived in the final 45 minutes, with 64% of Celta Vigo's away goals also coming in the second period. Over 2.5 goals in the second half is 2.30.
Score Prediction: Real Madrid 3 Celta Vigo 1 (10.00)
Real Sociedad 2.20, the draw 3.30, Athletic Bilbao 3.20
There's more than bragging rights at stake as we enter into the first Basque derby of the season.
Athletic currently sit fourth and in the final Champions League berth with four points separating the two sides. A win for either club would be a major statement of intent as we approach the halfway point in the campaign.
Real Sociedad knows what it takes to get into that position, even if they didn't do themselves justice in the group stages. They are on a run of four straight victories, scoring in each of the eight halves a total of 17 goals. Back Real Sociedad to score in both halves at 3.05.
Ernesto Valverde's outfit have lost just once in the last ten games, but they've struggled to find the net on their travels. With Atlético Madrid the only team to win at the Anoeta in the league, a share of the spoils appears the likeliest outcome.
Score Prediction: Real Sociedad 2 Athletic Bilbao 2 (11.00)
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