La Liga Betting: Top three to all win, but Barca and Atletico will have to work for it


In the Champions League in midweek, former Málaga manager and current Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini blamed the officials for his side’s 2-0 defeat to Barcelona. "From the beginning I think that the referee was not impartial to both teams," said the Chilean in his post-match press conference. 

The Barca camp were a little more light-hearted though, and it was the first time Gerardo Martino had worn a tie according to one Catalan journalist.

"Yes, I'm going to keep on wearing it," the manager responded jokingly. 

Barca could face a tougher test at Real Sociedad on a weekend where two of the top three will have to work hard for victories:

 

Real Madrid 1.07, draw 10.00, Elche 30.00

 

There was little derby atmosphere as Getafe put up a feeble attempt to stop Real Madrid last weekend. Los Blancos are now unbeaten in 25 matches and few would expect them to slip up at the Bernabéu on Saturday afternoon. 

Sergio Ramos was doing his best to pick up his fifth yellow card of the season, so that he would be clear to play the Madrid derby next week. The referee wasn't having any it and seemed to refuse to give him one, despite the Spanish defender pushing the boundaries. Raphael Varane should deputise, the centre-back is worth a punt at 20.00 for the first goal

It's just one defeat in six for Elche, though they will have rued the missed opportunities against Osasuna. Attacking midfielder Coro blazed a penalty over the bar, whilst Manu del Moral headed another into the same area from five yards out. 

The last time the two sides met it was a particularly feisty occasion with 12 bookings and refereeing controversy as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 90th minute penalty to give Madrid all three points. 

Real are a different proposition at home, but Elche will take confidence in their overall performance and from keeping Madrid out during the first half. Real Madrid not to score in the first half is a good price at 4.80.

Score Prediction: Real Madrid 3 Elche 0 (6.50) 


Real Sociedad 7.50, a draw 4.50, Barcelona 1.38

 

Defeats for Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao on the last matchday have put Real Sociedad firmly in the Champions League race. Their win at Málaga means they are just four points from their Basque rivals who currently occupy the final position. 

La Real have fared well against Barcelona in recent encounters at the Anoeta, they are unbeaten in their last two meetings and have only lost three matches all season at the ground. For a double chance of a home win or a draw it's 2.80.

Lionel Messi has played down suggestions that he has lost his appetite for the game, with his hunger returning when facing former Málaga defender Martín Demichelis of Manchester City. "I don’t know why people say that," admitted Messi, "I have nothing to prove."

On his road to recovery he has been positioned a little deeper, but now seems to be offering the goal threat once more. "Little by little, I feel better. I feel good when we move the ball from one side to another," Messi continued. Back the Argentine at 3.45 for the opening goal.

Five out of the last seven goals scored by Real Sociedad against Barcelona have come in the second 45 minutes. Real Sociedad to score in the 2nd half is 2.30.

Score Prediction: Real Sociedad 1 Barcelona 2 (8.50)


Osasuna 7.20, a draw 4.00, Atlético Madrid 1.47

 

Pamplona is notoriously a difficult place for away sides with Real Madrid and Barcelona failing to win at El Sadar in the league this season. 

However, Atlético Madrid have overcome a difficult period to beat Real Valladolid and Milan in the space of a week. "Our best virtue is the bond of the team," said Diego Costa. It was the Brazilian-born forward who headed in the winner at the San Siro.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made two important saves in Italy, but was saving the credit for manager Diego Simone. "We started off playing two strikers but changed and put five men in midfield and one up front, said Courtois, "It was better like that." 

Atléti won on their last three visits to this ground, and it may be narrow but they should do so once again. Under 1.5 goals is 3.40

Score Prediction: Osasuna 0 Atlético Madrid 1 (5.75)