Benevento v Sampdoria – Saturday 14:00
Benevento ended 2017 with their first ever Serie A victory and far from giving up after their disastrous 14 game losing streak to start the season they look to be working harder than ever. In their last eight matches they’ve conceded just 12 times and never more than twice as five of their six defeats in that spell have been by just one goal. Their last four home games have seen them go W1-D1-L2 but the two defeats could easily have been better as they led in one after an hour and were level in injury time in the other. Sampdoria’s high position is based on their home form as they’ve won just once in their last eight on the road. Furthermore, they drew at three of the bottom four last term as they failed to score more than once at any bottom-half finisher. Their recent form is pretty ordinary and improving Benevento look good value to nick another point.
Valencia v Girona – Saturday 15:15
Valencia might have lost three of their last four but those defeats were all against teams above Girona in the standings and a couple of weeks off should have allowed them to freshen up. Furthermore, they’ve won all five home games this season against teams below the top six and they’ve also won six of their nine hosting promoted sides in the past three campaigns when they were weaker than they are now. Girona are yet to go to any of the top sides so despite their excellent 2017 they might find this a step up and should be opposed here.
Sevilla v Betis – Saturday 19:45
Betis made an excellent start to the season but things have fallen apart since then as they’ve lost five of their last eight while failing to score in each defeat and only managing to beat struggling Malaga. Furthermore, their recent record in the derby is a poor one as they’ve lost five of their last six meetings. Sevilla tend to be very strong at home as their only defeat here since the start of last season came 21 games ago against Barcelona. In the meantime they’ve won eight of their last nine hosting bottom-half teams.
Celta Vigo v Real Madrid – Sunday 19:45
Both teams are involved in Copa del Rey action on Thursday but while Celta are hosting Barcelona, Real Madrid can rest some players against second tier Numancia in preparation for this match. Ronaldo will certainly be looking forward to it having scored 20 times in 12 previous meetings with Celta, who tend to concede a lot against the Big Two. Their last 10 meetings with the two Spanish giants have seen them concede 37 times and since 2014/15 they’ve lost all six meetings with Real while conceding 23. Real’s form has been far below what they’d have expected this season but with Celta taking just one point from their five matches against the rest of the current top six this looks a perfect opportunity to start a winning streak as they aim to hit top form ahead of the Champions League returning next month.