Dan Fitch previews the weekend La Liga action, and though he doesn't trust Barcelona to deliver against Celta Vigo, he thinks that Lionel Messi won't let anyone down.
Sociedad will go top with win over rock bottom Leganes
Real Sociedad1.72 v Leganes 6.20; The Draw 3.80 Friday 8 November, 20:00 Live on Betfair Live Video
Real Sociedad can go top of La Liga if they win their match with Leganes on Friday night.
Currently third and tied on points with both Real Madrid and the leaders Barcelona, Sociedad enjoyed a 2-1 win away at La Liga's surprise package Granada last weekend, with their forward Portu grabbing both of their goals. Portu was one of a number of canny signings made by the club over the summer, which has given manager Imanol Alguacil a squad that contains a good mix of experienced players and youthful attacking talent.
Real Sociedad will be confident of beating a Leganes side that are currently bottom of La Liga. Leganes were beaten at home by Eibar last weekend, leaving them with just five points after 12 games (W1 D2 L9).
They have lost their last three away games without conceding a goal. You can back Real Sociedad to win to nil at a tempting 2.52, but with the Basque club having conceded in three of their last four matches, simply backing them to win at 1.72 makes the most sense.
Perfect Rodrygo could be next Real Madrid superstar
Eibar5.80 v Real Madrid 1.63; The Draw 4.30 Saturday 9 November, 17:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
Which Real Madrid will turn up on Saturday to face Eibar? The one that thrashed Galatasaray 6-0 in the Champions League in midweek, or the version that surprisingly dropped points against the likes of Mallorca and Real Betis in recent weeks?
Such inconsistency could ultimately prove costly for Madrid at a time when their title rivals Barcelona are in poor form and Atletico draw more games than they win. Where they are proving to be consistent is defensively, with Real now having kept clean sheets in each of their last four games (W3 D1).
Further forward, everyone is talking about Rodrygo. The 18-year old scored a perfect hat-trick against Galatasaray and now has five goals in six games for Los Blancos. Though Rodrygo cost a not insubstantial €45 million when he was signed from Santos, he could prove to be something of a bargain in today's inflated transfer market.
Rodrygo is 2.88to score against an Eibar side that have conceded in each of their last five games. Eibar are currently 14th in the table, but with Madrid often failing to deliver in La Liga, backing their potential superstar to add to his growing reputation, offers better value than backing the team to win.
Valverde on brink as Barca host struggling Celta Vigo
Barcelona1.22 v Celta Vigo 18.50; The Draw 7.60 Saturday 9 November, 20:00 Live on Premier Sports 2
Everything was going so well. Barcelona had won seven games in a row, Lionel Messi was back fit again and the team had returned to the top of La Liga.
Then came last weekend's trip to Levante in which the energetic and ambitious hosts produced a seven minute second-half blitz which saw them win 3-1. Barcelona have stumbled away from home on a number of occasions this season, but have remained consistent at the Camp Nou. A 0-0 home draw on Tuesday against Slavia Prague in the Champions League, spoiled that record.
After suffering back-to-back disappointing results, it's no surprise to see that the future of Ernesto Valverde is once again in doubt. A failure to beat Celta Vigo could see Valverde sacked, with Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman in the frame to replace him (which will no doubt amuse Everton fans).
Celta Vigo are in the relegation zone and have lost each of their last four games. Yet with Barcelona producing such poor results, there's no way to back them with any certainty, so it's best to put your faith in the one man at the club who always delivers. Messi has scored the opening goal in two of Barca's last four games and is 3.40 to be first goalscorer.