La Liga Tips: Selection crisis could make it tough for Barcelona

Barcelona are struggling to raise a team for their away match at draw specialists Mallorca and Dan Fitch anticipates a low scoring game.

Another win for La Liga leaders

Getafe 6.0 v Real Madrid 1.7; The Draw 3.9
Sunday 2 January, 13:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

Real Madrid kick off Sunday's La Liga action with a trip to their local rivals Getafe.

Carlo Ancelotti's side are eight points clear at the top of La Liga, having won 2-1 at Athletic Bilbao in their last outing before the winter break. Second placed Sevilla do have a game in hand, but as they don't play until Monday, Madrid have the chance to extend their lead the eleven points.

Karim Benzema scored both of the goals against Athletic Bilbao. At 34-years old, the striker is on course to have his best ever season for the club, having already scored 20 times in 23 games across all competitions.

Quique Sanchez Flores is in charge of Getafe these days and is trying to guide the 16th placed club away from the relegation zone. Getafe are actually in decent form and are unbeaten in their last five league games (W2 D3), but we have to expect Real Madrid to win this one. Odds of 1.7 look reasonably generous, given the disparity in positions.

Goals could flow as fourth meets fifth

Atletico Madrid 1.41 v Rayo Vallecano 10.5; The Draw 5.0
Sunday 2 January, 15:15
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

As we reach the midway point of the season, few would have expected Rayo Vallecano to have been ahead of Atletico Madrid at this stage.

With both teams having played 18 games, Vallecano are in fourth position and a point ahead of Atletico in fifth. Rayo Vallecano were promoted last season through the play-offs and have continued their fine form in the top tier, under the stewardship of the former Athletic Bilbao defender Andoni Iraola, who is making quite a name for himself as a manager.

Vallecano have every reason to be confident going into this one against an Atletico side that have lost each of their last four La Liga games. While that run included defeats against title chasing Real Madrid and Sevilla, they also lost to Mallorca and Granada.

These odds may seem way off considering the respective form of the teams, but Vallecano have severe selection issues due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their squad. With Vallecano fielding an understrength side and Atletico conceding in each of their last five La Liga games, over 2.5 goals should land at 1.94.

Barca splash cash in top four gamble

Mallorca 3.8 v Barcelona 2.18; The Draw 3.5
Sunday 2 January, 20:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

With Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano playing each other, Barcelona will be looking to move up the table when they conclude Sunday's La Liga schedule with their match at Mallorca.

Despite all of their issues this season, seventh placed Barca are only two points behind Rayo Vallecano. With their financial problems, qualifying for the Champions League is surely a necessity and it looks like they're ready to gamble to make it a reality.

Ferran Torres joined Barcelona from Manchester City this week in a deal that is said to be worth €55m, plus a potential extra €10m in add-ons. It's a huge amount for a club said to be in €1.35 billion in debt, but Torres at least seems a more logical acquisition than some of the forwards that Barca have recruited in recent years, such as Martin Braithwaite or Luuk de Jong.

The new signing cannot be registered until January 3rd, which adds to Xavi's selection problems, with Barcelona suffering from their own Covid crisis. Mallorca can be tough to beat, losing just two of their last nine league games (D6 W1). The 15th placed club have drawn their last two home games 0-0 and you can back under 2.5 goals at 1.93.

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