La Liga Betting: Messi-Barca Wincast Is Too Good To Miss At Villarreal


Villarreal 5.50, draw 4.25, Barcelona 1.58 - Sunday 18.00 GMT

TEAM NEWS

Javier Mascherano is suspended, and Gerard Pique free to return, making a decision at the back easy for Barca coach Luis Enrique. Up front youngster Munir El-Haddadi scored on his senior debut in last week’s 3-0 stroll past Elche, but Pedro Rodriguez is available to come back, and maybe Neymar too.

Villarreal's 19-year-old summer signing Luciano Vietto scored twice in Thursday’s 4-0 Europa League win over Astana, so the Argentine is pushing for a first La Liga start.

FORM

Javier Mascherano is suspended, but Gerard Pique is likely to step in despite being left out of the latest Spain squad due to an apparent hip issue. Andres Iniesta misses out with a knee injury. Up front youngster Munir El-Haddadi scored on his senior debut in last week’s 3-0 stroll past Elche, but Pedro Rodriguez is available to come back, and maybe Neymar too.

Villarreal look in excellent nick - with Thursday’s hammering of the Kazakh side completing a 7-0 aggregate win. They also impressed when winning 2-0 at neighbours Levante in La Liga last week.

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Luis Enrique: “I could not be more content. With the individual quality we have here - and above all with Leo in this state of grace - we must all be very happy.”

Marcelino: “I am very happy with how the team is playing. They are all at a high level, and we have got a great result.”

KEY MEN/FACTORS

Messi in the mood

The biggest take from last weekend’s win over Elche was Lionel Messi looking back sharp and focused. His two goals were excellently taken, but even more important was the hard-work off the ball which showed the Argentine was in the mood. 

Marcelino’s luck has to change? 

The Villarreal coach has sent teams out eight times against Barca, and has taken just two points, with 19 goals against and just four for. His team were even 2-0 up against the Catalans at home last season, but still lost 3-2. 

SCORE PREDICTION 

Villarreal 1-2 Barca at 8.00. This fixture usually sees goals and Villarreal arrive confident, but with Messi switched-on Barca should really be too strong.

BEST BET

Messi to score, and Barca to win, both look very likely. So both to occur being better than even money at 2.05 looks like value.

 

Real Sociedad 8.50, draw 5.20, Real Madrid 1.35 - Sunday 20.00 GMT

TEAM NEWS

Madrid go to Anoeta without both the departed Angel Di Maria and Xabi Alonso, and Cristiano Ronaldo is also absent having been given a fortnight off by club and country to try and recover fully from persistent knee and thigh issues.

New goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli was the only Real Sociedad player to impress when losing 3-0 in Krasnodar to crash out of the Europa League on Thursday. And he now has a suspected broken metatarsal, so Enaut Zubikarai looks certain to return.

FORM

Real Sociedad have had an awful start to the season, losing in La Liga to neighbours Eibar, and then conceding three times in the last 20 minutes in Russia to exit Europe already.

Madrid looked low on cohesion during last Monday’s 2-0 win at home to Cordoba, with coach Carlo Ancelotti still figuring out how to best fit new galacticos Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez into the XI.

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Ancelotti: “We are not yet in full physical condition, and we need to have more rhythm in our game.”

Arrasate: “Being out of Europe already is a blow, but it must make us stronger. We must lift ourselves up and get back to work in other competitions.”

KEY MEN/FACTORS

Anoeta angst

Real Sociedad fans are not happy with the team’s shocking start, and could turn on coach Arrasate should the team not at least put up a fight here.

Madrid’s midfield balance

With Alonso gone, Ancelotti might give James and Kroos another start together alongside Luka Modric in what is a very attacking-looking midfield three. 

SCORE PREDICTION 

Real Sociedad 1-2 Real Madrid at 8.50. The home side will want to get some pride back but even a not yet flowing Madrid should be too strong. 

BEST BET

A tight away win looks the most likely result here so the pick is ‘draw’ in the 3-way handicap market which starts 1-0 to Sociedad, i.e. Madrid to win the game by one goal. It’s at 3.75.

 

Read Dermot Corrigan’s La Liga previews every week!