Saturday La Liga Tips: Sevilla the value against unreliable Atletico

Dan Fitch thinks that the value is with Sevilla when they host Atletico Madrid, as he previews the pick of Saturday's games from La Liga.

Low scoring teams meet

Real Sociedad 2.3 v Villarreal 3.65; The Draw 3.4
Saturday 18 December, 15:15
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

Real Sociedad will be looking to turn around their poor form when they host Villarreal on Saturday.

Imanol Alguacil's team were top of La Liga for much of this season, but are now fifth. They come into this fixture off the back of three straight league defeats, in which they've failed to score a single goal.

A lack of goals was always likely to be Sociedad's downfall as they attempted to remain on top. They rank joint ninth for most goals in La Liga this season, with 19 goals from 17 games, just ahead of Villarreal, who have 18 goals from 16 games. Unai Emery's team have really underachieved in La Liga and are 13th, despite beating Rayo Vallecano 2-0 last weekend.

With both of these teams lacking potency, yet tending to keep things tight at the back, under 2.5 goals should land at 1.75. It's been successful in six of Sociedad's last seven La Liga games.

Xavi short of options

Barcelona 1.38 v Elche 10.0; The Draw 5.2
Saturday 18 December, 17:30
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

Xavi's honeymoon period at Barcelona has been very short, as the club legend faces the reality of how the mighty have fallen.

Eighth in La Liga, Barca are still in touch with the top four, with only five points separating them from fourth placed Atletico Madrid. Yet that is only down to the inconsistency of others. After a promising start to his reign, Xavi's side have not won in any of their last three outings (D1 L2), drawing 2-2 at Osasuna last weekend.

To be fair to Xavi, the number of injuries last weekend ensured that he had to name a very experimental lineup. The most high-profile of these absentees was of course Sergio Aguero, who has had to retire with heart issues.

At a time when Sergino Dest, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Pedri, Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay and Martin Braithwaite are all out, Xavi's options are extremely limited. We still have to expect them to win against an Elche side that are 16th and have only won one of their last nine games (D3 L5), but it could be narrow. A Barca win and both teams to score is 3.1.

Sevilla are the value at home

Sevilla 2.88 v Atletico Madrid 2.98; The Draw 3.1
Saturday 18 December, 20:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

Saturday's La Liga action concludes with a game between second placed Sevilla and fourth placed Atletico.

Both teams have a game in hand on the leaders Real Madrid. Sevilla are currently eight points behind the frontrunners, while the defending champions Atletico, trail their local rivals by 13 points.

That's an awful lot of ground for Atletico to make up, after they lost 2-0 at Real Madrid last weekend. They have lost the defensive solidity for which they have become famed during Diego Simeone's reign and realistically look to be competing for a place in the top four.

Sevilla might be the only side capable of challenging Real Madrid and their successful start to the season has been built upon their home form. Unbeaten in seven games at home, they've won six of them (D1) and under the circumstances look generously priced. You can back Sevilla cautiously in the Draw No Bet market and still get odds of 1.96.

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