Mike Holden previews Saturday's two live La Liga matches and he fancies a Malaga clean sheet.
Villarreal v Malaga - Saturday 17:15, Sky Sports 2
Now Marcelino’s men face another much-improved outfit posting markedly superior shot data, but rather than take the 3/1 quotes about Malaga to triumph at El Madrigal, we’ll pay due respect to the home side’s staying power and keep the 0-0 onside with a bet on the Boquerones to keep a clean sheet at 5/2. My 16-match ratings make it a 13/8 shot.
Javi Gracia’s men head to Castellon in a rich vein of form, having picked up 20 points from the last 10 matches, during which time they’ve faced an average of just 2.8 shots on target and completed shut outs against Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid, Levante, Celta Vigo and Getafe. Villarreal's attack has registered just 18 shots on target across their last five outings, despite playing four of the bottom eight.
Valencia v Espanyol - Saturday 19:30, Sky Sports 2
The Pericos were humiliated 5-0 on home soil by Real Sociedad on Monday night and although some sort of reaction should be expected at the Mestalla, there’s every chance Los Che can end their wretched sequence of conceding the first goal in each of the last 12 league matches, which has been instrumental in their failure to win a single game under the former Sky analyst.
On the last five occasions that Valencia have broken the deadlock - all in the Copa del Rey - they have managed games quite well thereafter, securing win-to-nil victories over Barakaldo, Granada (twice) and Las Palmas, while they were just six minutes away from ending Barcelona’s unbeaten run at 27 matches, having led for nearly an hour in midweek. Backing Valencia to win to nil at 2/1 is the way to go here.