La Liga Tips: Goals will flow as Betis welcome new manager
Thursday's La Liga action sees Eibar taking on Valencia, followed by Real Betis against Espanyol and Dan Fitch is expecting goals in both games...
Eibar have been scoring against elite defences
Eibar2.92 v Valencia 2.64; The Draw 3.50 Thursday 25 June, 18:30 Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video
Neither Eibar or Valencia will be lacking in motivation when they meet on Thursday evening.
Eibar are currently 17th, just one place and three points above the relegation zone. There is still plenty of time for any of the bottom three to climb the table and above Eibar, with even rock bottom Espanyol only five points behind them.
Jose Luis Mendilibar's team are fighting hard and picking up points, even if victories are currently eluding them. After a 3-1 away defeat at Real Madrid when the season restarted, Eibar have drawn 2-2 with Athletic Bilbao and then 1-1 with Getafe on Saturday. In both of their last two games they have come from being behind to rescue a point.
Eibar now face another tough fixture against Valencia. The visitors picked up their first win since the restart on Tuesday, with a routine 2-0 victory against Osasuna. Goncalo Guedes and Rodrigo scored the goals in the first-half, allowing Albert Celades to make a number of second-half substitutions after the break, to keep his squad refreshed for this fixture.
Valencia have dropped down to eighth since the season resumed, but qualification for the Europa League, or even the Champions League, is not out of the question. They have certainly looked better since their return than the likes of Real Sociedad and Getafe, who are both above them.
Given the respective form of the two teams, you could make an argument for Eibar denying Valencia a win, or for the visitors to have too much class for a team fighting against relegation. The safe bet looks to be to back both teams to score at 1.81, with Eibar scoring in each of their last three games, despite being up against the sides with the first, third and fourth best defensive records in La Liga.
Betis hope new coach will be a gem, as Rubi fails to shine
Real Betis 2.28 v Espanyol 3.50; The Draw 3.50 Thursday 25 June, 21:00 Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video
Real Betis have yet to win since the season restart and their head coach Rubi has paid for a poor run of form with his job.
A 2-0 loss to Sevilla in their local derby, was followed by a 2-2 home draw with Granada. Saturdays 1-0 away loss at Athletic Bilbao, prompted the Betis board into action, sacking Rubi and replacing him with the club's sporting director Alexis Trujillo until the end of the season.
The decision is not a rash one. Rubi may have been sacked while the season was on pause, but for an encouraging 2-1 win over Real Madrid just prior to lockdown. That ended a run of seven games without a win and generally Betis had not shown the sort of form that you'd expect from a squad that contains some talented players.
Trujillo will now try and coax a performance from his players against an Espanyol side that have returned to the bottom of the table, having initially shown some good form when the season restarted. A 2-0 win against Alaves, followed by a 0-0 draw at Getafe with ten-men, suggested that better things were to come for Espanyol, but at the weekend they were brought back down to earth with a 3-1 home defeat against Levante.
Espanyol would have certainly preferred Rubi to still be in charge of Betis, but that doesn't make the home side good value to win at 2.28. This is another match where both teams to score could land, this time at 1.88. Betis have conceded in each of their last six games.