Real Valladolid v Barcelona
Saturday, 21:15
Live on Eleven Sports and Betfair Live Video
Alavés scrapped admirably, but in the end Barcelona did what they do best. Two late goals put gloss on the scoreline - and gave this column a nice winner - but really they might have been home and dry long before that, the woodwork and some wayward finishing having let their visitors off the hook a few times.
To look at Ernesto Valverde's squad is to see an embarrassment of attacking riches: Philippe Coutinho, Arthur and Arturo Vidal only made cameos off the bench, while Rafinha and Malcom didn't feature at all. If they ever need a super sub, they should be well covered.
What Real Valladolid would do for even a quarter of that depth. They lost a good chunk of their firepower when Jaime Mata left for Getafe (he scored 35 of their 78 goals in segunda last term) and look undercooked in other areas. A draw at Girona was a decent enough way to return to the big time, but they'll be well aware that a long season awaits.
They did, however, keep a clean sheet last Friday night, and can be expected to defend in numbers again here. Given that Barcelona can take a while to get going, we'll return to an angle that served us well last season: backing the second half to produce more goals than the first.

Madrid can grind out a win

Girona v Real Madrid
Sunday, 21:15
Live on Eleven Sports and Betfair Live Video
If this is to be the Gareth Bale era at Real Madrid, things got off to an encouraging startlast weekend. It was the Welshman's goal, struck powerfully at the first time of asking, that put paid to Getafe's resistance, securing all three points for Julen Lopetegui's side.
It was not an all-singing, all-dancing display from Madrid. But the mood at the Bernabéu has been so doom-laden that the result was paramount: fluency and philosophy can come later. (You could actually argue that this find-a-way pragmatism has been their default setting for some time, of course.)
Next up is a trip to Girona. This fixture proved to be a banana skin last season, Madrid slipping to a 2-1 defeat at the Montilivi, but the Catalans no longer have the element of surprise on their side. Girona performed above all expectations in their first season in the top flight, but there's a good chance of a sophomore slump in 2018/19. Mastermind coach Pablo Machín was poached by Sevilla in the summer and the jury is out on whether replacement Eusebio Sacristán will be the right fit.
Given Girona failed to find a way past Valladolid on opening weekend, and have now scored just once in their last five home games in La Liga, Real Madrid will want another clean sheet here. They barely conceded a chance against Getafe (0.2 xG against), so the play is to back them to win to nil.

Levante looking to double up at home

Levante v Celta Vigo
Monday, 19:15
Live on Eleven Sports and Betfair Live Video
Levante were among the standout performers in Jornada 1, clobbering much-fancied Real Betis away from home. José Luis Morales understandably hogged the headlines after his wonder goal, but it was also a solid team display from the Frogs, who have come on leaps and bounds under Paco López.
There's good reason to think they'll make it two wins from two against Celta Vigo on Monday night. Levante only won two of their first 14 home games last term but that all changed when López arrived: they picked up five victories in a row to end the season, beating Sevilla and Barcelona. They'll want to maintain that run, making the Ciutat de València a real fortress.
Celta started their campaign with an underwhelming draw at home to Espanyol and have not been good travellers in 2018. They have lost seven of their last away matches in La Liga, drawing the other and scoring just three times in that run. They'll be fine this season but Levante have their tails up and look good value to win this one.
RECOMMENDED BETS
Back 'first half' in Half With Most Goals in Valladolid v Barcelona at 9/10 (Sportsbook)
Back Real Madrid to beat Girona go nil at 7/5 (Sportsbook)
Back Levante to beat Celta at 2.60

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