La Liga Tips: Atletico will keep it tight against Real

It's the Madrid derby on Saturday and Dan Fitch thinks there will be few goals when Atletico travel to Real, as he previews the weekend La Liga action.

Draw between struggling sides

Valencia 3.3 v Athletic Bilbao 2.52; The Draw 3.3
Saturday 12 December, 13:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

Two of Spain's biggest clubs meet on Saturday lunchtime when Valencia host Athletic Bilbao, with both currently in the bottom-half of the table.

It's Valencia that are one place ahead of Bilbao in 13th, thanks to scoring more goals this season. Valencia have only won one of their last eight games (D3 L4), failing to score in their last two outings. Considering how quickly the club dispense with managers these days, Javi Gracia will surely be under real pressure soon if he does not turn Valencia's form round.

There has been reason to believe that Bilbao might have recovered from their poor start, particularly at home, but they remain inconsistent. Last weekend they lost 2-0 at home to Celta Vigo, ending a run of three straight home victories.

This looks like a tight game with few goals and backing the draw at 3.3 should at the very least offer an opportunity to trade.

Low scoring derby ahead

Real Madrid 2.5 v Atletico Madrid 3.3; The Draw 3.3
Saturday 12 December, 20:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

Saturday's action concludes with the Madrid derby and for once Atletico are looking down upon Real.

Unbeaten Atletico (P10 W8 D2) are top of La Liga with 26 points, six clear of fourth placed Real (P11 W6 D2 L3). Were they to win this match, Atletico would stretch their lead to nine points, while still having a game in hand. There's a lot to gain for Atletico in this one and the fact that they have only conceded twice in ten league games suggests that they will be tough to beat.

A week ago Zinedine Zidane was under pressure after his team suffered two consecutive losses. They have since beaten Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach. Zidane hailed the 2-0 win over Monchengladbach as Real's best performance of the season, but it's extremely unlikely that Atletico will be as defensively charitable as the Germans.

Atletico really should be favourites here, but it's a risk to back them against a Real team that can beat anyone when in the right mood.

Under 2.5 goals looks the sensible option at 1.74.


Barca can ease pressure with win

Barcelona 1.29 v Levante 12.0; The Draw 7.0
Sunday 13 December, 20:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

If the pressure was on Zidane last weekend, it's now very much shifted towards Ronald Koeman.

Koeman's Barcelona side have lost their last two games. They were defeated 2-1 at Cadiz in La Liga a week ago and then lost 3-0 at home to Juventus on Tuesday. The loss to Juventus saw the Italians win the Champions League group, which means that Barca are guaranteed a tough last-16 draw, having qualified for the knockout stages as runners-up.

While the defeat to Cadiz was no great surprise given Barcelona's longstanding poor away form, defeats at the Camp Nou are still a rare occurrence. Now ninth in La Liga, Barca are already twelve points behind the leaders Atletico.

Levante are 17th in La Liga, yet are unbeaten in six (W1 D5), with their large number of draws holding them back. They have scored in all six of these games and though it seems likely that Barcelona will return to winning ways, the visitors may well get on the scoresheet.

A Barcelona win and both teams to score is 2.38.

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