It was the perfect start for Gareth Bale as he grabbed a debut goal, even if there were clear signs of rust. It was his first competitive start since the middle of May as he surprisingly played an hour at El Madrigal. "Porque lo Bale," was the headline inside Marca - because he's worth it -whilst El País's noted: "Villarreal play the football, Bale scores the goal." Which was probably a more accurate reflection of the evening's events.
Real Madrid 1.10, a draw 10.50, Getafe 22.00
The Yellow Submarines were superb and can feel hard done to that they didn't get all three points. It was their former goalkeeper Diego López who made sure of that even the staunchest Iker Casillas supporter would find it hard to deny the worth of the man between the sticks. Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that López would play in the league and Casillas in Europe, but the accidental elbow by Sergio Ramos to the club captains midriff in the Champions League means even that is no longer a certainty.
The 6-1 thrashing in Turkey suggests that Los Blancos are moving back towards their best. That would be a little unfair on Galatasaray though, after a good first half display, the end scoreline flattered Madrid and Felipe Melo was amongst those that had some glorious chances to make an early impact. The double from Karim Benzema might just lift the weight of expectation, he is at 4.75 for the first goal at the Bernabéu.
A brace from Miku gave Getafe their opening victory against struggling Osasuna. Luis Garcia's side finished in the top half of the table last year, after some creative work within the loan market. They are yet to score a goal away from home, it's 1.83 for Real Madrid to beat their cross town rivals without conceding a goal.
Score prediction: Real Madrid 3 Getafe 0 (8.00)
Rayo Vallecano 15.00, a draw 7.25, Barcelona 1.18
"We're playing at home, in front of our own fans, and anything could happen," remarked the optimistic Rayo striker Jonathan Viera. Easier said than done. The Catalans have bagged 12 goals on their last two visits to Vallecano, whilst the home side has recorded zero. Having lost two of their last three games 5-0, it's difficult to find where Viera's enthusiasm has come from.
Added to the comments of Barcelona shot stopper Víctor Valdés: "I’m in a good moment, but I do not know if it is the best of my career," he confided after saving a penalty in the 4-0 win over Ajax. At the other end of the pitch Barcelona has scored ten goals in their last three matches against decent opponents, Lionel Messi has seven of those, including two hat-tricks. He is 3.05 to open the scoring and 6.00 for another treble.
Try Barcelona to win the first half in the handicap market which sees Rayo Vallecano starting 1-0. A two goal lead at the interval for Barça will give you a return of 2.95.
Score prediction: Rayo Vallecano 0 Barcelona 5 (17.00)
Valencia 1.90, a draw 3.65, Sevilla 3.95
In the not to recent past, this was a battle for a top-four position, at present it's about moving away from a bottom-four one. There's disarray at the Mestalla. It's their worst start to a La Liga campaign for 14 years and then they went and lost three-nil at home to Swansea. The Welsh side were clapped off by the opposing fans, whilst chants declared their own players were not fit to wear the shirt. With rumours of dressing room unrest after the players reportedly fell out with coach Miroslav Djukic, the Serbian ordered double sessions. He could even be sacked before this match takes place.
The return of former manager Unai Emery will do little to appease the mood, Sevilla's boss notoriously had a prickly relationship with Los Che supporters. Despite the continual sales at the club, Emery guided the side to three successive 3rd place finishes, but that wasn't deemed enough by some. There must be a hint of regret looking at the situation they now face. It's far from rosy though, for the Andalusian team at present. Sevilla's away form has been atrocious, but the win in Portugal over Estoril on Thursday should restore some confidence on their travels. For the hard-faced tactician adding further misery to his former peers would be the perfect way to record their first league win of the season.
There has been nine goals in the last two La Liga matches involving Sevilla, whilst Valencia have conceded three goals in all of their previous four games. Over 3.5 goals can be found at 3.00.
Score prediction: Valencia 2 Sevilla 2 (14.00)
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