La Liga Picks: Game Week 2
The 2019/20 La Liga season is under way and things are already hotting up at the top of the table, with Barcelona losing on the first weekend, opening the door for Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid to steal an early march on their rivals. The drama looks set to continue this weekend. Here are four tips for Matchday Two of the Spanish top flight season.
Santiago Bernabeu, Saturday August 24
After a summer of discontent, Real Madrid surprised everyone by pulling out of the bag on opening weekend, beating Celta Vigo 3-1 away from home despite being reduced to 10 men. Gareth Bale was back in the starting lineup and it seems likely that the Welsh winger will be selected again after an impressive display at Balaidos.
Luka Modric will be missing through suspension for this match after being sent off against Celta Vigo and so there may well be a hole in the centre of the Real Madrid midfield. Los Blancos have won their last three meetings against Real Valladolid, scoring 23 times to their five. Despite a number of injuries and suspensions, Real Madrid are a solid bet to claim a comprehensive victory.
1.5u - Back Real Madrid To Score 2+ Goals @ -450
Balaidos, Saturday August 24
Valencia were just seconds away from opening their season with a victory when in the 11th minute of stoppage time they were pegged back. Rodrigo played in that game, but might have made his last appearance for Valencia as a transfer to Atletico Madrid looms. That could leave a hole in Marcelino’s attack.
Celta Vigo struggled to find any kind of traction in the final third, only scoring late on against the 10 men of Real Madrid last weekend. Going back to last season, it’s been six matches since Celta Vigo failed to find the net in a league fixture in front of their own supporters. This might be the closest fought match of La Liga this weekend.
1u - Back Draw @ +250
Butarque, Sunday August 25
We were told that Atletico Madrid would be a different sort of team this season, but Diego Simeone’s side started their season with a 1-0 win at home. On this basis, New Atleti looks very much like Old Atleti. Joao Felix picked up an injury in the victory over Getafe, but should still feature against Leganes at Butarque.
Atleti conceded five times over their last two away games to finish last season and despite their opening night clean sheet there is a suggestion that the capital club will be more open this year than previously was the case. Leganes started their season with a disappointing defeat to promoted side Osasuna. Things won’t get easier for them here.
1.25u - Back Atletico Madrid To Score First @ -175
Camp Nou, Sunday August 25
The defending champions got their title defence off to a bad start, losing 1-0 away to Athletic Club on opening weekend. The signing of Antoine Griezmann was supposed to give Barcelona a way to play without Lionel Messi, to ease their dependence on the Argentine, but with the 32-year-old injured the Catalans still looked somewhat lost last weekend.
On top of this, Luis Suarez picked up an injury in the defeat to Athletic with Ousmane Dembele also ruled out for the next five weeks. This has put real strain on Barca’s attacking line meaning Rafinha could start against Real Betis. There are suggestions, however, that Messi could feature. That would change the dynamic of this fixture.
1u - Back Half-Time/Full-Time Barcelona/Barcelona @ -153