La Liga Betting: Rotated Barcelona Won't Be Turned Over At Getafe


Getafe 12.00, Draw 6.75, Barcelona 1.22 – Saturday 15.00 GMT

Luis Enrique's Barcelona remain a hard team to figure out. The 3-2-4-1 formation for Wednesday's decisive final Champions League group game at home to Paris Saint Germain lead to some major issues in defence and attack. The doubts were raised when ex-Barca player [for one up and down season] Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring. It was unclear if even the blaugrana coach himself really knew how his team was supposed to be playing.

But by the end of the game Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez had all scored in the same game for the first time, Barca had won an eighth consecutive game in all competitions, and they had qualified for the last 16 as group winners. Real Madrid's trip to the World Club Cup means two wins in their last two league games of 2014 will see the Catalan outfit head into the winter break top of the Primera Division standings too.

Still though the feeling is that all is not quite right. Luis Enrique is sure to continue his rotations for the trip to suburban Madrid, with a return to 4-3-3 looking likely, and Xavi Hernandez, Ivan Rakitic and Jordi Alba among those who could come in. Messi is sure to start though – and to look to add to his 10 goals in his last five games.

FBL-EUR-C1-BARCELONA-PSG : News Photo

Getafe have been having a very Getafe season so far.

There has been little excitement, not too many goals, and very few fans at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. But the team have picked up points here and there and are sitting 12th in the table, more or less where they will probably finish by the season's end. The most interesting thing about their campaign so far has been the pun-friendly name of new French midfield signing Karim Yoda [currently their top scorer with four goals from nine games].

There have been occasional dramatic moments at the Coliseum however in recent seasons when the big boys arrive – with both Pep Guardiola's Barca and Jose Mourinho's Madrid having been shocked there. It is hard to see a similar result this time around, but then that's the thing about shocks, nobody sees them coming.

Predicted result: Getafe 1-2 Barcelona at 9.50

Best bet: An actual home win looks unlikely here, but home or draw double chance at HT at 2.16 looks tempting.

 

Atletico Madrid 1.60, Draw 3.85, Villarreal 6.00 – Sunday 18.00 GMT

Sunday sees Atletico host in-form Villarreal at the Estadio Vicente Calderon in one of the weekend’s tastiest looking fixtures.

The Atletico machine keeps rumbling on. Tuesday's goalless draw at Juventus was not the prettiest, but it ensured top spot in their Champions League group. It also means Diego Simeone's much-changed team are well placed both domestically and in Europe, while keeping clean sheets in their last five in all competitions.

Even the loss through injury in recent weeks of defenders Miranda and Cristian Ansaldi has been covered. Miranda has returned to training after a hamstring problem, but teenager Jose Maria Gimenez should keep his place after being outstanding again in Turin.

Elsewhere Simeone is keeping rotations to a minimum, although he might give a first start in four games here to Antoine Griezmann. Mario Mandzukic is sure to keep his place up front - and his fine strike in the 2-0 win at Elche last weekend was his 12th in all competitions for Atletico [or one more than Diego Costa has managed for Chelsea so far].

FBL-ESP-LIGA-ELCHE-ATLETICO : News Photo

Villarreal are also having a typically impressive season – with last weekend's 4-0 home crushing of David Moyes' Real Sociedad lifting the Yellow Submarine to sixth in the table, and into the race for the final Champions League spot alongside Sevilla and Valencia.

Summer arrivals Denis Cheryshev and Luciano Vietto have both settled very well, and Europa League commitments have been managed very well. Thursday’s 2-0 win at Apollon Limassol sent them through to the last 32 was their fourth on the trot in all competitions.

Marcelino is getting the best out of a squad short on stand-out superstars, but full of technically good and tactically astute players. They don’t keep many clean sheets, but they have scored in each of their last 14 outings.

Even still a trip to the Calderon looks a tough task – especially with two days less rest than Atletico. The loss of outstanding centre-back Mateo Musacchio has been covered okay through recent weeks, but the increasingly comfortable looking Mandzukic could thrive in his absence.

Simeone's side eked out a tight 1-0 against Marcelino's men in this fixture last season, and will not have it all their way again this time, but another home win looks most likely.

Predicted result: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Villarreal at 9.00

Best bet: Both teams to score at 2.05.