Terry Gibson's La Liga Betting: Barcelona are on a roll but Real Madrid will keep the pressure on


Deportivo la Coruńa v Barcelona, Sunday 3.15pm

It will be a buoyant Barcelona who visit the Riazor on Sunday afternoon, that's for sure. An incredible comeback against PSG followed one of their best performances of the La Liga season against Celta Vigo last weekend.

The announcement of Luis Enrique that he was going to leave has had a positive effect on the squad and they have responded in spectacular fashion.

I also believe a big factor has been that they have been boosted by Real Madrid dropping unexpected points recently against Valencia and Las Palmas and it has given them genuine belief again that they can win another title.

They are certainly playing like they believe that it could be a memorable final season for them and their manager. I'm certainly not expecting the positive vibe to come to a halt in this game.

Deportivo have shown an improvement since Pepe Mel took over as manager and are unbeaten in his first three games with home draws against Atletico and Betis and a win at Sporting Gijon.

In this game though they are hit with suspensions to a couple of important players. Defensive midfielder Pedro Mosquera is out and there is no obvious alternative to replace him. Most importantly though is they will also be without their top scorer Florin Andone. 

Andone is the most aggressive and enthusiastic striker in La Liga and would have been ideal to have ploughed alone up front against Barcelona. He will be sorely missed. Expect on loan Stoke City striker Joselu to replace him.

They also look likely to be without probably their best central defender in the Brazilian Sidnei who came off injured in the midweek draw with Betis.

Even if these three were available I would still have predicted a Barcelona win. They are on a roll! With the absences for Deportivo it makes it an easier prediction for the away win. I'm going to go for a clean sheet for Barcelona and go reasonably high with the 3-0 win.

Best bet: Barcelona to win 3-0 – 8.00

 

Real Madrid v Real Betis, Sunday 7.45pm

It’s been an interesting past seven days for Real Madrid and Zidane. A much-changed starting XI performed fantastically well last week against Eibar and made really light work of a 4-1 away victory. The likes of James, Nacho, Vazquez and Asensio served him well in that difficult fixture. 

The big hitters then returned for the Champions League win away at Napoli and that just emphasised how strong the squad is with another impressive victory. A sign of the strength of the squad is that Isco and Alvaro Morata didn't start either game.

Maybe there will be one or two selection headaches for Zidane but certainly they are good issues to have at this stage of the season. I believe he will mix and match this weekend with the Champions League "All Stars" and the La Liga "foot soldiers" and they will once again prove to be too good for Real Betis.

Real Betis are going to be just about ok this season, they are nine points clear of relegation at the moment and they are not a bad team at all. Victor Sanchez employs a three-man central defence with very attacking wing-backs in Durmisi and Piccini and they can be effective. 

Scoring goals is a big issue for them though and they rely far too much on 35-year-old Ruben Castro. It seems like I've been saying that for a while!

He got 19 of their 34 last season in La Liga and this season he has eight of their lowly 27. An attack which didn't reach a goal a game last season is struggling to do much better this season and shouldn't be able to trouble Real Madrid in this one.

If they keep things tight at the back they could make life difficult for Real Madrid but I don't expect them to hold out for the full 90 minutes. 

If the wing backs are a little bit more pragmatic they could be an effective back five but they then won't get up the pitch to trouble Real Madrid and I believe the constant pressure will take its toll.

I've no doubt this is a win for Real Madrid and if they are able to get an early goal then it could be a big win. I'm going to go for a comfortable 3-0 win but it could be more.

Best bet: Real Madrid to win 3-0 – 7.50