Villarreal v Las Palmas - Saturday 17:15, Sky Sports 2
The 0-0 at Balaídos keeps Marcelino’s men 11 points clear of the Galicians in sixth, with 11 rounds remaining, and now it’s all gearing up towards next weekend’s trip to fifth-placed Sevilla, over whom the Yellow Submarine hold a nine-point cushion. Before then, though, they must also negotiate the home leg of a last-16 Europa League clash against Bayer Leverkusen.
With those two landmark events lurking on the horizon, the hosts will wish to keep this low-key and a bet on under 1.5 goals is advised, one that has landed in seven of the last nine matches staged at El Madrigal. It might only be lowly Las Palmas, but Marcelino is unashamed in outlining another clean sheet as the priority.
There’s a rhythm and momentum to what Villarreal are doing right now, approaching games on auto-pilot with the focus almost entirely on protection. In those conditions, it’s also feasible they can play out another 0-0 in a game where they are long odds-on and not lose a wink of sleep over it.
As such, the 9/1 available on ‘no goalscorer’ should also be considered. Based on shot data, my 16-match ratings produce a total goals expectancy of just 1.94 and my 24-match sample isn’t much different at 1.96. By standard conversions, that means the under 1.5 goals bet ought to be around 6/4 and the 0-0 should be more like 6/1.
Las Palmas head to Castellon in good spirits, having eased their relegation concerns with back-to-back wins for the first time this season, beating Eibar (1-0) and Getafe (4-0). Coming on the back of a narrow 2-1 defeat to Barcelona, the islanders won’t be short of belief, yet Quique Setien is making all the right noises to suggest their approach will be sensible rather than gung-ho.
Getafe v Sevilla - Saturday 19:30, Sky Sports 5
Seven straight defeats sounds like pretty conclusive proof that the Madrid-based minnows aren’t very good, but that’s only true when they leave the capital where they make less of the running and ritually ship three or more goals. At home, they are much more comfortable in their own skin and should always be chanced at big prices.
Successive home games against Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid and Celta Vigo have contributed to this current barren spell and though all three of those games ended 0-1, the Azulones were more than active as an attacking threat in all three matches and four points would have probably been a more fitting reward for their efforts.
Things don’t get any easier with a game against fifth-placed Sevilla but, curiously, the Coliseum has been a graveyard for both them and Unai Emery down the years. The Andalusians have been beaten on six of their last seven visits, while their Basque coach has also been turned over a further three times with previous clubs Almeria (once) and Valencia (twice).