Malaga v Osasuna – Friday 7.45pm, Sky Sport Red Button
Juande Ramos returns to Malaga for his second stint at the club, this time with a much bigger reputation having managed Sevilla, Spurs and Real Madrid since, though he’ll want to forget his final five games at Madrid where he lost five in a row, conceding 17 times before getting the sack. The 61-year-old will be expected to win his first game here as they play host to an Osasuna side returning to La Liga for the first time since 2013/14.
Malaga were solid defensively last term as they only conceded 35 goals, the fourth fewest in the league, and they were impressive at home, where they lost just five times last season, on their way to a top-half finish.
Osasuna scraped through to the promotion play-offs in La Liga Segunda last term, finishing 6th on goal difference, and in pre-season they look like a team that may struggle in the top flight as they’ve failed to win a warm-up game. Worryingly their squad seems to have been weakened with Mikel Merino being snapped up by Dortmund after impressing last term and Osasuna failed to win any of the eight games he missed last season.
Malaga have won eight of their last 12 home matches against promoted sides and they look value at 1.7 to beat a side that nearly went down to the third division a couple of seasons ago. Moreover, promoted sides have lost seven of their 11 games since 2008/09when they were away on the opening day, and six of these defeats were to nil so we’ll back Malaga to win without conceding.