La Liga Midweek Tips: Entertainment in Madrid and Sociedad to frustrate Barcelona

Real Madrid and Barcelona are both in action in midweek and Dan Fitch is expecting differing fortunes for the old rivals...

Fourth straight win for Real Madrid

Real Madrid 1.5 v Athletic Bilbao 7.8; The Draw 4.7
Tuesday 15 December, 21:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

It's fair to say that Real Madrid are a tough team to predict this season. Just a couple of weeks ago they were in a mini-crisis and now they have just enjoyed their best result of the season.

Zinedine Zidane found himself under pressure when Madrid lost consecutive matches against first Alaves and then Shakhtar, but his side have bounced back in impressive style. A 1-0 win at Sevilla was followed by a 2-0 win against Borussia Mounchengladbach, that sent Real through to the last-16 of the Champions League. Then at the weekend, they defeated the previously unbeaten Atletico Madrid 2-0 at home.

Third placed Real Madrid are now only three points behind the new La Liga leaders Real Sociedad, with Atletico slipping down to second. For Real to be very much in the title race, despite never being far away from a brief spell of baffling inconsistency, is encouraging. It's how they performed for most of last season, before producing the run of wins after lockdown which saw them lift the title.

Athletic Bilbao picked up a useful point at Valencia on Saturday, claiming a 2-2 draw. That leaves them 12th in La Liga. Bilbao have only won one of their seven away games this season (P7 W1 D2 L4), so it would be a surprise if they were able to avoid defeat against Real Madrid, though you can never be sure with Zidane's team.

Odds of 1.5 for a Real Madrid win are certainly too short to hold much appeal. With Bilbao having scored in each of their last three away games, let's back a Real Madrid win and both teams to score at 3.3.

Sociedad can avoid defeat

Barcelona 1.67 v Real Sociedad 5.2; The Draw 4.6
Wednesday 16 December, 21:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

Barcelona face a real test on Wednesday when they host the La Liga leaders Real Sociedad.

For some time now Barca have been very poor away from home and therefore very reliant on their home form. There are now clear signs of the team struggling at the Camp Nou, with Barcelona needing a late goal from Lionel Messi to beat 18th placed Levante 1-0 at home on Sunday.

Barcelona are still winning a lot of their home games, but when you look at their results against better teams, then it's far from convincing. They lost 3-0 at home to Juventus in the Champions League last week and in three home games against teams in the current top five in La Liga, have only won once (D1 L1).

Real Sociedad are nine points ahead of eighth placed Barca, who have two games in hand. They returned to the top of La Liga on goal difference with a 1-1 draw against Eibar. They won't be top for long unless they start winning games again. Sociedad have now drawn in six consecutive matches, split between La Liga and the Europa League.

It's not convincing form, but it does show that Sociedad are difficult to beat. They had won their previous four games before this run of draws, which means that they are unbeaten in their last ten outings. Real Sociedad are 2.4 to avoid defeat in the Double Chance market.

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