Valencia - Sporting Gijon - Sunday 15.00 GMT
A week ago I would have gone for a home win with no second thought. Though having co-commentated on Sporting's 5-1 victory over Real Sociedad on Friday night I am certainly in two minds now.
They were positive from the off, scoring the first goal in only 14 seconds! Antonio Sanabria notched his second hat-trick of the season which is a major feat for a 19-year-old. The Paraguayan striker is on loan from Roma and he certainly is a player for Valencia to stifle in this game. It clearly was a definitive and new positive approach from coach Abelardo on Friday. Perhaps he sees this as the best way to go in the second half of the season and it certainly paid off in this game.
Regarding Valencia, it is pretty much Groundhog Day! Yet to take the lead in any of Gary Neville's league games, but showing spirit and urgency to get themselves draws. They have drawn five from seven, with two defeats. Alvaro Negredo's 93rd minute equaliser did the trick once again last week at Deportivo la Coruńa.
The pressure will firmly be on the home team this weekend in front of demanding fans who have become fed up with the state of affairs at this famous and historic club. In total it's now 10 without a win in the league for Valencia, who now trail Villarreal in fourth place by 16 points. They certainly could do with the first goal!
I have to believe that the extra quality that Valencia possess will see them victorious in this game. I've been saying that for a while now though!
I'll go 2-1 Valencia.
Valencia to win 2-1 – 9.00
Real Madrid - Espanyol - Sunday 19.30 GMT
There was a harsh dose of reality last week for Zinedine Zidane with the 1-1 draw away at lowly Real Betis. It wasn't the first time this season that we saw Real Madrid dominate and fail to convert a sufficient percentage of chances, and it is probable that it will cost them the title. Gareth Bale was sorely missed in that game but I don't expect to see him rushed back for this one.
Espanyol are interesting opposition for Real Madrid. They are sometimes known in Spain as Real Madrid B! This is due to their rivalry with Catalan neighbours Barcelona, and accusations that they will do anything in their power to make life difficult for Barca and at times try their best to help Real Madrid.
That has been evident this season. Espanyol were completely overrun at the beginning of the campaign when they were very passive in terms of defending. They chose not to run, tackle and apply any old fashioned "elbow grease" against superior opponents. It resulted in a demoralising 6-0 home defeat.
When they played Barcelona recently they were totally different. They were ultra aggressive in all three games played in a matter of two weeks. The La Liga game was brutal and Espanyol were lucky not to have at least two players sent off. That is exactly what happened in the 1st leg of the Copa del Rey when they met again a few days later.
Were the performances against Barca a reaction to the new coach Constantin Galca being appointed? Maybe. Usually Espanyol are somewhere in between what we saw against Real Madrid and Barcelona and it will be interesting to see their approach this weekend.
If they are aggressive they will make a game of it but without their best striker Felipe Caicedo, who is out injured, they will find it hard to make any serious inroads in terms of a goalscoring threat.
I'm assuming that we will see Real bounce back to form in front of their own fans and obtain a relatively comfortable win. There were 10 goals in Zidane's first two home games, but I'm going for just the three this time.
Real Madrid to win 3-0 – 8.50