Alavés v Valencia
Saturday, 12:00
Live on Betfair Live Video
A quick one to start us off this week, with in-form Valencia very much worth backing to beat Alavés. The hosts are in miserable form, with just three points to show from their nine games so far and one goal in four home games. Gianni De Biasi has had little impact since arriving a month ago, so it's shaping up to be a long old season.
Valencia, by contrast, are in dreamland, last season's woes having transformed into sunny uplands under Marcelino. Los Che are still unbeaten and have now won five games in a row, scoring 21 goals in that run. They're full of confidence and should have no trouble putting the Basques to the sword, even without suspended captain Dani Parejo.
Recommended Bets
1.5pts Valencia -1.0 at [2.27]
0.5pts Valencia -2.0 [4.19]

Athletic Club v Barcelona
Saturday, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports Football and Betfair Live Video
They rode their luck last weekend, their goals coming courtesy of a dodgy refereeing decision and a helpful deflection, but Barcelona still got the job done against Málaga. The 2-0 win at Camp Nou kept Valencia and Real Madrid off their case for another week, before Ernesto Valverde used the midweek Copa del Rey game against Murcia to rotate his squad.
Next up is a trip to Bilbao, which will be an emotional occasion for the Barcelona boss. Valverde is a deity in the Basque country, having spent four memorable years in the San Mamés dugout before jumping ship to Catalonia in the summer. Throw in a previous managerial spell between 2003 and 2005, a stint as assistant manager and 170 games as a player for Athletic Club and you know to expect a warm welcome when he walks out on Saturday evening.
His former club haven't been getting on so well without him. Athletic have claimed just four points from the last 24 available in the league and have made a mess of what looked like a relatively straightforward Europa League group. A serious knee injury for Iker Muniaín explains some of the recent slump, but José Ángel Ziganda really should be doing better with a squad that didn't change too much over the summer.
Barcelona will be confident of heaping more misery on the Lions, not least because they've won the last nine league meetings between the sides. Athletic haven't even scored in the last four and could find life tough again here.
Recommended Bet
Back Barcelona -1.0 at 1.80

Girona v Real Madrid
Sunday, 15:15
Live on Sky Sports Football and Betfair Live Video
After six games without a win, newly-promoted Girona got back on the horse last weekend, grinding their way past Deportivo La Coruña in Galicia. It wasn't an especially pretty victory but it was a timely one, with a royally tricky set of fixtures coming up next: Real Betis and Real Sociedad follow this game against Real Madrid, with only a trip to Levante to break thing up.
The Catalans claimed a point against Atlético Madrid early in the season but have since been less convincing against the division's more illustrious names: matches against Athletic, Sevilla, Barcelona and Villarreal yielded no points and just a single goal. So there's reason for them to be fearful as they prepare for their first ever competitive game against Los Merengues.
Madrid produced more of the same last weekend, beating Eibar without really hitting top gear, and followed that with a tedious Copa del Rey win at Fuenlabrada on Thursday night. You get the feeling that Zinedine Zidane's men could do with a blowout win - or maybe even a blowout defeat - to really get their gears going this season. The question is when it will arrive.
With no crystal ball at our disposal, the best play this weekend appears to be the same one that paid off in the Eibar game: backing Madrid to win but not going goal crazy. Just one of Girona's last eight games has produced more than three goals, so we like their chances of keeping this vaguely respectable, especially given that their visitors face Tottenham on Wednesday night.
Recommended Bet
Back Real Madrid to win and under 3.5 goals at 7/5

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