La Liga Betting: Barcelona To Keep The Heat On Madrid Rivals


It was the best Clásico in recent memory, as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 4-3 at the Bernabéu.

There were some brilliant individual performances, while others let the match pass them by. It was a frantic end-to-end battle, with Lionel Messi scoring a hat-trick for the visitors.

Despite this, it was referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco that was centre of attention at the final whistle. "We played against 12," Cristiano Ronaldo said, regardless of being awarded a penalty himself when the initial contact was outside the box.

Sergio Ramos was equally annoyed after he was sent-off: "There are some things you can't fight against. This was pre-meditated." The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is rightly looking into both players’ comments.

 

Barcelona 1.03, the draw 20.00, Celta Vigo 65.00

The result puts Barcelona just one point behind their Madrid rivals at the top of the table with only nine games remaining. "It was a great match, but it can’t be that once the game’s over we focus on the referee," remarked Gerard Piqué. Messi and Andrés Iniesta were in particularly fine form. The Spanish midfielder started the scoring against the run of play, his clever movement from the inside left position was a constant thorn in Madrid's side.

Iniesta has a habit of scoring important goals; if Barcelona wins they go top for at least a couple of hours. It's 8.00 for Iniesta to strike first once more.

Expect Gerardo Martino to move away from his diamond midfield and back to a 4-3-3. The Argentine will rotate a couple of players, though mindful that he won't want his side to lose momentum. Alexis Sánchez or Pedro will start (if not both), with a midfielder dropping to the bench. That's probably going to be Xavi, with the Catalan derby at the weekend and the Champions League quarter-final next week; this is the best time to rest him.

Celta Vigo manager Luis Enrique knows the philosophy at the Camp Nou inside-out. He was among the front runners for the job when Martino was appointed last summer and will likely be in the frame again should Martino decide to leave at the end of the season.

It's worth a golden nugget at 65.00 for a surprise away win. Though, more realistically, opt for a draw in the 3-way handicap market. It's 4.40 for Celta Vigo to start with a three goal advantage.

Score Prediction: Barcelona 3 Celta Vigo 0 (6.50)

 

Sevilla 5.75, a draw 4.50, Real Madrid 1.55

Sevilla are now fifth in the table after winning their last five domestic matches and conceding only three goals. Unai Emery appeared under pressure before the encounter with Barcelona, after that defeat his side won seven out of eight games in all competitions.

Emery's lack of resources do appear to show when he faces the biggest clubs, his record as manager of both Valencia and Sevilla has not been great against Real Madrid or Barcelona. Ivan Rakitić has eleven goals in the league from midfield this campaign; he is 4.30 to score at anytime.

After such a disappointing weekend, there are certainly easier trips than the one facing Los Blancos to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium. Carlo Ancelotti will know that his team played well overall on Sunday, even if his wide players were out of form.

This was the match that Gareth Bale showed Spain what he is capable of when they met earlier in the season. The Welshman scored a brace and assisted two further goals. To score first here he's 6.50.

Ramos should miss this reunion with his former club, as it's unlikely his red card will be overturned. Raphaël Varane will replace him at centre-back.

Real Madrid has been winning at both half-time and full-time in five of their last six matches against Sevilla in all competitions. It's 2.25 for it to happen again.

Score Prediction: Sevilla 2 Real Madrid 4 (28.00)

 

Real Sociedad 1.45, a draw 4.40, Real Valladolid 7.50

Real Sociedad are down to sixth after defeat to Almería on Monday night. They are now nine points from fourth place after losing three times in the space of four games. Expect a response from Jagoba Arrasate's men; they face a fight to keep within the Europa League positions.

There's a poor mix of emotions in the Real Valladolid dressing room at present. "I'm angry and the players are concerned," confessed manager Juan Ignacio Martínez. They have drawn three out of their last five matches.

When faced with the best teams away from home Valladolid's defence has struggled, against the top five they have conceded at least three goals in each game. For over 2.5 goals for Real Sociedad it's 2.70.

Score Prediction: Real Sociedad 3 Real Valladolid 0 (9.50)