Fortress San Mames awaits Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s unbeaten start to the season will be put under threat on Wednesday night when Rafa Benitez and his men make the trip north to face Athletic Bilbao.
The capital club have taken just one point from a possible six from their last two visits to Bilbao, including a 1-0 defeat in the Basque Country back in March, and the clash with Ernesto Valverde’s men will provide Madrid with their first true test of the Liga season.
Captain Sergio Ramos was hoping to recover from a shoulder injury in time to feature but his absence from training on Tuesday morning means he is a doubt. Danilo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez will still be in the treatment room and their absence was notable as Los Blancos laboured their way to a 1-0 win over Granada at the weekend.
Benitez’s men are still favourites to leave with three points at 5/8 but a draw looks the more appealing option at 10/3. Although Athletic fell to a 3-1 loss against Villarreal at the weekend they have lost just one of their last ten home matches in La Liga.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who saw red at San Mames two seasons ago, is closing in on Raul’s all-time goalscoring record for the Spanish giants and is 10/3 to open the scoring and add to the five goals he has already bagged this term.
However, Aritz Aduriz will hope to steal the show again after scoring the winner last season. The experienced forward is 7/1 to break the deadlock.
Raul Garcia will also be hungry to help see off his former rivals after recently making the move north from Atletico Madrid. A thorn in Madrid’s side before, he is 17/2 to find the back of the net at any point during the match.
If clean sheets are more your thing, Madrid have kept them in all four of their league matches so far this season, making them the only club in the competition yet to concede a goal. Another at San Mames offers odds of 33/20.
Luis Enrique faces tricky return to Celta Vigo with Barcelona
Luis Enrique returns to face former club Celta Vigo on Wednesday night and although his Barcelona side top the table after four matches Celta are hot on their heels.
The Galicians have won three and drawn one of their opening four matches, including an impressive 2-1 win at Sevilla at the weekend, a result that took them to fourth alongside Real Madrid and Villarreal and two points behind the leaders.
Barça have hit the ground running after last season’s treble, however, and will welcome Gerard Pique back into the starting line-up after the centre-back completed his four-match suspension.
The Catalan club will be near enough at full strength and should have enough in the tank to snatch it at Balaidos, especially after a 4-1 home win against Levante on Sunday.
Odds of 8/15 are available for Barcelona to make it five wins from as many matches but it will not be a walk in the park. With that in mind, odds of 11/4 for a Barca win by a one-goal winning margin look more attractive.
Celta have looked dangerous in attack in all four of their matches so far while Barça’s defence has failed to match the punch of their attack. Odds of 4/7 are available for both teams to score and if Celta are to get on the scoresheet you can bet on in-form Nolito, with four goals to his name so far this season, at 12/5 to score anytime.
Barcelona’s top scorer Lionel Messi is 10/3 to break the deadlock and add to the three goals he has already notched up this term.
The rest of La Liga
Valencia need a victory at Espanyol on Tuesday night to ease the pressure from an underwhelming start to the season for Nuno Espirito Santo and his side.
Los Che may be unbeaten in their opening four matches of the league campaign but they have won just once and lost their opening Champions League clash at home against Zenit.
The Mestalla club are still without goalkeepers Diego Alves and Mat Ryan and make the trip to the Power8 Stadium on the back of a 0-0 stalemate at home against Real Betis. In contrast, Espanyol bounced back from their home humiliation against Real Madrid with a 3-2 victory at struggling Real Sociedad.
The Catalans will fancy their chances against an out-of-form Valencia side but Nuno’s side should still have enough to edge the victory at 27/20. A one-goal winning margin offers longer odds of 11/4.
Atletico Madrid have started the season brightly and should face few problems against neighbours Getafe at the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday night.
Diego Simeone’s side ended Eibar’s unbeaten start to the season at the weekend and at 2/7 are big favourites to make it two Liga wins in four days when Fran Escriba’s side visit.
For Atleti to be winning at half-time and full-time offers better odds of 4/6 and a comfortable 3-0 scoreline looks attractive at 51/10.
David Moyes is under big pressure to guide Real Sociedad to their first win of the season at Granada on Tuesday night.
La Real are struggling at the wrong end of the table and although both sides lost at the weekend, Granada could take more from a 1-0 defeat at Real Madrid than Moyes’ men could from a 3-2 home defeat against Espanyol.
Given the starts both teams have endured at the start of the season, odds of 43/20 for a share of the spoils looks the best bet but one that will far from suit the former Manchester United and Everton boss.
Both Rayo Vallecano and Sporting Gijon collected their first three points of the season and the weekend and both will look to make it two from two at Vallecas on Wednesday night.
Rayo bagged a confidence-boosting 1-0 win at Las Palmas while Sporting did likewise in a five-goal thriller at Deportivo.
Paco Jemez’s men are 6/5 favourites to bag the three points but Sporting should fancy their chances of taking a point at 5/2.
Eibar fell to their first defeat of the season at home against Atletico Madrid at the weekend but Jose Luis Mendilibar’s men will be confident of bouncing back with three points at struggling Levante.
The Valencia club have yet to win this season and have not won in their last eight La Liga matches stretching back to last season. David Navarro is still absent for the hosts while Simao is absent through suspension.
Eibar have impressed so far this season and are 12/5 to get back to winning ways at the Ciutat de Valencia.
Villarreal have come flying out of the traps this season with three wins and a draw from their opening four matches and are 17/10 to secure another three points at a winless Malaga.
The Andalusia’s have yet to even score a goal this season and for the Yellow Submarines to nullify the home attack again you can get odds of 9/5 for a clean sheet.
Marcelino’s men have been freescoring, winning by a 3-1 margin in each of their last three outings. For the same scoreline at La Rosaleda you can get odds of 22/1.
Villarreal’s top scorers Cedric Bakumbu and Roberto Soldado are both doubts but that could allow summer recruit Leo Baptistao to rise to the occasion. The forward is 11/5 to score anytime and add to the solo strike he has already registered in La Liga this season.
Few would have predicted Sevilla to be rock bottom of La Liga four matches into the season but that is exactly the position Unai Emery and his men find themselves ahead of Wednesday night’s long trip to Las Palmas.
Luckily for the Andalusians, the top-flight newcomers find themselves in a similarly poor run of form, culminating in a 1-0 home loss against Rayo Vallecano at the weekend.
It should only be a matter of time before last season’s Europa League winners get their act together and a trip to the Estadio Gran Canaria looks the ideal time. Sevilla are 6/5 to secure their first win of the season and climb off the bottom.
Paco Herrera’s men have been goal shy so far and have yet to score on home soil this term. A two-goal winning margin for the visitors at 26/5, coupled with a clean sheet, at 19/10, looks a good bet.
Fernando Llorente has scored just the one goal since his arrival in Seville from Juventus and is 5/1 to score first and double his tally.
Real Betis and Deportivo La Coruna will both be satisfied with their respective starts to the season but that could mean both cancel each other out when they meet at the Benito Villamarin on Thursday night.
Odds of 47/20 are offered for the draw and they look good given the form of both sides going into the match. For the match to finish goalless offers 27/4, which look good given the low-scoring nature of matches involving the Andalusia club.
Pepe Mel’s side have taken four points from six on home soil while the Galicians have done likewise on their travels.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.