Will Barcelona rotate?

Alavés v Barcelona
Tuesday, 20:30
Live on Eleven Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video
Sometimes a team just runs out of puff, and that is exactly what has happened to Alavés in the last month. The Basque side were in the conversation for the fourth Champions League spot not so long ago, after a season of massive overachievement under Aberlardo. But they just seem to have reached their limit.
Their last three home matches tell the story in microcosm. First, they were spanked by Atlético Madrid. They then conceded a last-gasp equaliser against Leganés, and managed to throw away a two-goal lead against relegation strugglers Real Valladolid last Friday. They have slipped to eighth.
This perhaps just a reversion to the mean; look at their squad and you don't really see much Champions League quality. But tiredness could also be a factor, and they have certainly missed the sparky Ibai Gómez since he headed back to Athletic Club in January. On Tuesday, they'll also be without the suspended Jonathan Calleri, their principal goal threat.
Their hopes of getting something here will rely on how much Barcelona rotate. There wasn't much at the weekend, when they ground out a win over Real Sociedad, and it's possible Ernesto Valverde will be looking at the Levante game at the weekend as a chance to rest key players. Still, a couple of changes will probably be in order here,
Barça's recent away games have gone one of two ways. Matches against teams that attack them have turned into slugging contests (4-2 against Sevilla, 4-1 against Betis, 4-4 against Villarreal). But more circumspect teams have made life tough for them and kept things relatively tight: Athletic Club and Huesca both picked up 0-0 draws.
We expect Alavés to be fairly conservative in their approach, and will thus be backing under 3.0 goals at [2.11].

Aspas the man for Celta

Espanyol v Celta Vigo
Wednesday, 19:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
Sometimes one player's form - and influence on his team - is just too impressive to ignore. And for that reason, we're jumping back on the Iago Aspas train, just a few days after he netted us a nice winner by scoring against Girona.
To say the forward has hit the ground running since returning from injury would be to understate things; in four appearances, he has six goals and four assists. He has dragged the Galicians up to 15th almost single-handedly, and while they're not yet safe, they will surely be fine if he remains fit for the rest of the campaign.
One stat is particularly telling. When Aspas starts, Celta have averaged 1.47 points per game this term (extrapolate that over 33 games and they'd be seventh). When Aspas doesn't start, that drops to 0.33. There cannot be a team in Europe more reliant on one man.
He will play on Wednesday, and we expect him to do the business again. Espanyol have been in decent enough form, but they have kept one clean sheet in their last 19 matches (all competitions) and may not be able to resist Hurricane Aspas.

Azulones can frustrate city rivals

Getafe v Real Madrid
Thursday, 20:30
Live on ITV4, Eleven Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video
With five games of the season remaining, Getafe are still in with a great chance of finishing in the top four. It would be an incredible achievement given the size of the club and their resources, but they're showing no signs of tension on the home straight: witness the 3-0 dismantling of Sevilla at the weekend.
They now welcome more high-profile visitors to the Coliseum, and there's little doubt José Bordalás will be eyeing another scalp. The question is whether they can break with history in a derby that has been dominated by Real Madrid in recent seasons.
The last 10 meetings have gone Real's way, by an aggregate scoreline of 37-8. There have been 5-1, 4-1, 4-0 and 7-4 victories in that time. Getafe have suffered at the hands of their moneyed rivals.
That will surely just inform the narrative José Bordalás will want to create ahead of this one. His players rarely look anything other than battle-ready, but the chance to get one over on Real - and to close the gap to seven points - can only be extra motivation.
Los Merengues cruised past Athletic at the weekend, but have struggled in their last couple of away games (1-2 at Valencia, 1-1 at Leganés) and cannot be relied upon to maintain their level. Getafe, meanwhile, have won eight of their last 10 at home, keeping five clean sheets.
The suspended Djené will be a miss for the hosts - he has been superb at centre-back - but they still look underrated on the market as 4.20 outsiders. That price tempts, but we'll play it a touch safer and back them to avoid defeat at good odds.
RECOMMENDED BETS
Under 3.0 goals in Alavés v Barcelona at [2.11]
Back Iago Aspas to score in Espanyol v Celta at 7/5 (Sportsbook)
2pts Getafe +0.5 against Real Madrid at [2.05]


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