La Liga Tips: Madrid derby destined for draw as fortunes reverse

It's another big weekend in the La Liga title race and Dan Fitch is backing a draw between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid as he previews the games involving the top four.

Sevilla can recover from painful setback

Elche 7.6 v Sevilla 1.64; The Draw 3.8
Saturday 6 March, 15:15
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

Sevilla have suffered a painful double blow in the last week, with both having been delivered by Barcelona.

Last weekend they lost 2-0 at home to Barca in La Liga. Then on Wednesday, the two teams met again in the second-leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, with Sevilla holding a 2-0 advantage. Barcelona took an early lead, but Sevilla had a great chance to effectively book their place in the final late in the second-half, only for Lucas Ocampos to miss a penalty. In injury time, Sevilla's Fernando was sent off for a cynical foul, which was swiftly followed by an equaliser for Barca.

It didn't take long for Martin Braithwaite to put Barcelona ahead in extra time, before Sevilla ended the game with nine men, when Luuk de Jong was sent off. It was the type of defeat that could easily take both a mental and physical toll on Sevilla, so it's fortunate that they're up against opposition on Saturday, that are in very poor form.

Relegation threatened Elche have only won one of their last 19 league games (D8 L10). With Sevilla having reason to be fatigued, simply back them to win at 1.64.

Koeman changes formation

Osasuna 6.0 v Barcelona 1.63; The Draw 4.4
Saturday 6 March, 20:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

Things are turning around for Ronald Koeman. Under pressure at the start of the season, the Dutch manager is now delivering.

The home Champions League thrashing by PSG was a recent rare setback, but domestically speaking, Barcelona could not be doing much better. Koeman has guided his team to the Copa del Rey final and they are now unbeaten in 15 La Liga games (W12 D3).

In the two matches against Sevilla, Koeman switched formation, using a back three and wing-backs. It will be interesting to see if he sticks with it. Two clean sheets against a team as good as Sevilla suggests that Barca could be more defensively secure, while further forward, using two attackers rather than three, seems a better fit for the players at Koeman's disposal.

Osasuna are in good form, winning three of their last four (L1), but lost 4-0 in the reverse fixture. Back Barcelona to keep another clean sheet and win to nil at 3.0.

Point shared in derby between title rivals

Atletico Madrid 2.72 v Real Madrid 2.92; The Draw 3.4
Sunday 7 March, 15:15
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

On Sunday we have a match that could go a long way towards deciding where this season's La Liga title is going, as Atletico Madrid host their city rivals Real Madrid.

It's Atletico that are top of La Liga, with a five point lead and a game in hand, over both second placed Barcelona and Real Madrid in third. Last weekend they won 2-0 at Villarreal, which was a crucial victory considering that they had only won one of their previous five games (D2 L2).

Real Madrid suffered a setback on Monday night, when they needed to score a late equaliser to draw 1-1 at home to Real Sociedad. It ended a run of five straight wins and saw them remain in third place, behind Barcelona.

This is a tough one to predict. Real have been in the better form of late, but the fortunes of the two rivals reversed at the weekend, when Atletico not only won, but kept a much needed clean sheet. When in doubt, the draw is a sensible option and should at least provide a trading option at 3.4.

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