La Liga Betting: No Ronaldo, no problem for Real Madrid against Villarreal

Former Spain manager Luis Aragones passed away last weekend and the country united in their grief. It was fitting that it was his team Atlético Madrid, that went to the top of La Liga.

For the first time in 59 match weeks Barcelona are not league leaders, whilst Atlético lead for the first time in 18 years. Aragones won the title in 1977 as a coach and took the side to three Copa del Rey trophies.

Newspaper El País summed it up perfectly with the headline: "Luis leaves Atlético top."


Real Madrid 1.33, a draw 5.00, Villarreal 8.50


Los Blancos bounced back after the draw at the new San Mamés to beat rivals Atlético Madrid 3-0 in the Copa Del Rey in midweek. "The result is very good and so is the performance, but we have to be careful because we have played only the first-half," remarked Carlo Ancelotti after the game.

Cristiano Ronaldo will miss this match after raising his hand to Carlos Gurpegui at the weekend, and he now faces a three-match ban in the league. You could see the bemusement on his face in the Madrid derby, as the two sides took it in turns to kick lumps out of one another, with all players remaining on the field.

Gareth Bale remains a doubt, but young Jesé should keep his place. The winger scored in his full league debut last Sunday and then again versus Atléti on Wednesday evening. He has three goals in three games and is displaying maturity beyond his years. For Jesé to net first it's 5.10.

Villarreal beat Osasuna on Monday with a goal from Manu Trigueros, that confidence has given him some hope for this encounter. "We have to be optimistic and think about doing good things in this game," Trigueros told Marca.

Neither team are conceding many goals at present, for under 0.5 goals in the first half it's 4.30.

Score Prediction: Real Madrid 2 Villarreal 1 (7.50)

Sevilla 6.25, a draw 4.20, Barcelona 1.50

Unai Emery has come in for some criticism recently, following two draws and two defeats. It's a bit harsh given how they had recorded five wins in six league matches prior.

The Sevilla coach has the backing of the board and sporting director Monchi, but will need to start picking up results again soon to appease fickle nature of the supporters, who have at least seen Ivan Rakitić win January's La Liga player of the month. The Croatian now has 10 goals and seven assists to his name this season.

With all the difficulties off the pitch for Barcelona last week, they added to their woes by struggling on it. They surprisingly lost to Valencia on Saturday and then beat Real Sociedad in an unconvincing manner in the Copa del Rey.

Gerardo Martino made only one change between the matches and that was goalkeeper José Pinto replacing Víctor Valdés. "I thought the Valencia game was so unusual that sometimes a coach has to understand there is a group of players who need vindication or to take revenge," Martino explained.

Former Barcelona assistant manager Henk Ten Cate described the win over La Real as Barça's worst performance in six years. There certainly have been worse, but you could see what he was attempting to say. "There were some points in the second-half when we weren’t brilliant," admitted Martino.

Barcelona has kept the opposition out in only two out of the last six games and Sevilla haven't had a clean sheet since January 5th. With the two teams scoring in the last three meetings, it's 9.50 for both teams to score in both halves.

Score Prediction: Sevilla 2 Barcelona 2 (12.50)

Osasuna 2.10, a draw 3.25, Getafe 3.50


"We opted for a balanced game that would still give us chances to score, but we weren't able to make it happen," concluded Osasuna coach Javi Gracia after defeat to Villarreal. "But against Gefafe, surely we'll be better," he continued a little unconvincingly.

Luis Garcia's team are suffering from horrendous form at present. They have not won a game since November, while they have not picked up a single point on their travels since October.

Three out of the previous five goals scored by Osasuna came in the opening 20 minutes of their matches, whilst Getafe conceded two of their last three in the same period. It's 3.50 for either side to score in the first 15 minutes.

Score Prediction: Osasuna 1 Getafe 0 (6.75)