Terry Gibson's La Liga Betting: Real Madrid's reliable reserves to deliver again as Adams wins first Granada game


Sporting Gijon v Real Madrid - Saturday 3:15PM

This is an ideal League fixture for Zidane coming between the two Champions League ties against Bayern Munich.

It is another opportunity for him to rotate his squad and play the "fringe" players who have served him so well this season and who will have played a massive part should Real Madrid win the La Liga title.

By "fringe" players, I mean the likes of Isco, James Rodriguez, Alvaro Morata, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Mateo Kovacic.

It is amazing that somehow he has kept those players motivated to perform with all of them knowing that if everyone is fit then a position in the starting XI in the big games is beyond any of them.

He will most definitely use them again on Saturday and, quality-wise, they will be too good for Sporting Gijon.

Sporting go into the game with a genuine relegation threat hanging over them. They are five points adrift of next place Leganés and safety, with only seven games remaining.

They have only won five games all season and I'm pretty sure this won't be their 6th.



Rubi, who replaced the sacked Abelardo late on in January, hasn't really made a difference at all. He has picked up 10 points in his 13 games and has shown the same fearful tactics as his predecessor, and negativity will cost Sporting relegation this season.

He constantly rotates his squad to avoid players getting stale and I'm far from convinced that he has 11 players good enough to win games, let alone operate a rotation policy of 20 players!

He also only ever plays with one striker despite the need to win some games, and he is far too rigid regarding his tactics during a match.

He is one of those that when his team are losing by the odd goal with minutes remaining he takes off a striker to replace him with another instead of being adventurous and going with two. Lo and behold, any manager that plays with two up front when you are losing once again is going to get relegated!

I'm expecting a spirited performance from Sporting in an atmospheric stadium, with the supporters remaining right behind them still. Unfortunately, for them though, Real Madrid will just have too much quality even without the BBC and will continue their relentless run of form.

Sporting did get a 0-0 in Real Madrid's last visit to El Molinon when Rafa Benitez was manager and they only lost 2-1 earlier this season at the Bernabeu, so I'm not expecting a huge victory margin.

I'm going to go for Sporting to score but still losing with a scoreline of 3-1 to Real Madrid (10.50).

 

Barcelona v Real Sociedad - Saturday 7:45PM

This should be pretty straightforward shouldn't it?

Real Sociedad do harm to Barcelona at the Anoeta on a regular basis but at the Nou Camp it is an entirely different matter. Real Sociedad have lost the last 20 games in that stadium, the last time they got a draw was in 1995 and the last win was in the 90-91 season when they won 3-1 with Dalian Atkinson and John Aldridge amongst the scorers!

However, this season they have shown good form and are firmly in the mix for a Europa League spot. Eusebio Sacristan the former Barcelona "Dream team" player has done a fine job.

They have had a sticky period of late but got back to winning ways with a home 3-1 victory over Sporting Gijon on Monday.

Juanmi, who was a goalscorer in that win, is suspended and that will mean teenager Mikel Oyarzabel will step in alongside Willian Jose and Carlos Vela.

Now, let's get stuck into Barcelona who have now lost their last two games, conceding two against Malaga and three against Juventus without scoring in either! 



That back three system is working a treat isn't it!?

I am astonished as to the level that Luis Enrique is pursuing this ludicrous tactical change in order to prove he is right and knows best.

His stubbornness is going to cost Barcelona this season and will no doubt harm his legacy long term if he continues with the 3-4-3 system.

I expect Barcelona to win this game based on individual brilliance from the attacking players although Neymar begins a three-match suspension, which also means he misses the Clasico after his sending off last week at the Rosaleda.

I also have my doubts as to whether Real Sociedad have any genuine belief that they can win in this stadium due to the history of this fixture.

It's a hard one to call because of the inconsistency of Barcelona built I'm going to go for a 3-0 win for Luis Enrique's team (8.50).

 

Granada v Celta Vigo - Sunday 7:45PM

Tony Adams' Granada, as they will be known for the rest of the season, play Celta Vigo on Sunday evening. I'm guessing that viewing figures will be slightly higher now than they would have been for this fixture before his appointment!

We knew that he was working in some capacity behind the scenes and despite Granada having an awful season it still came as a huge surprise on Monday when it was announced that he would be stepping in as manager for the rest of the season.

It was also surprising that manager Lucas Alcaraz was sacked in the first place, as he had signed a new contract in January and appeared to be the man that Granada had faith in to rebuild the club, even if as expected they were to be relegated this season.

Nothing has really changed since January and Adams becomes the third manager this season.

This season Granada have signed 23 new players, wait it gets worse!

They have released or sold 37. Furthermore, four of those that were signed in the summer were released in January. They now have 16 players on loan and as we speak two players on trial in Kieran Richardson and Nigel Reo Coker.



I'm struggling to comprehend that when Tony Adams was asked to oversee the club on behalf of the new Chinese owners he observed and thought to himself " you know what this club needs now is for me to be manager"!

Granada are a club that needs sorting out from top to bottom. I'm convinced he would be more suitable maybe for a rebuilding project overseeing a transition from the previous ownership which was intrinsically linked to Udinese and Watford, and that massive flow of players between the three clubs.

Avoiding relegation is the immediate issue and a home game against Celta Vigo isn't a bad start for him. Celta would normally be expected to beat Granada but as I pointed out correctly last week with the prediction of a home defeat against Eibar they have their minds fixed firmly on Europa League success.

This game comes between the two ties against Belgians Genk and European football is a major issue for Celta Vigo.

Coach Eduardo Berizzo has openly admitted that his priorities are for the European games.

I expect almost a Celta B team to play Granada on Sunday evening but I have no idea what sort of team Tony Adams will pick. Will it include the two Brits? After all, he said the team was too foreign in his first press conference!

As betting goes on this one, it is difficult to call but I'm going to go for a home win due to Celta not being as focused as they should be.

In my opinion because of this, it would be a surprise and a huge failure if Granada don't win.

Being seven points away from safety and with only seven games to go, it really is a must win game for the home team in these circumstances.

Granada will probably still concede but I'm going for striker Adrian Ramos, if he plays, to be the decisive player. A 2-1 home win in this game for me (10.00).