Benzema Expected to Return for Real Madrid
The last La Liga matchweek produced an unforgettable Clasico for Xavi’s Barcelona. Barça thrashed bitter rival Real Madrid 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu to mark their fifth consecutive La Liga win. Barcelona were in crisis mode early in the season but La Liga betting tips suggest they’ll finish second in the league and are being linked to big name players.
Should Barcelona beat Sevilla in the match of the week, they could potentially be nine points behind leaders Real Madrid and make things interesting down the stretch. Real have been seldom threatened at the top of the table this season and have rarely slipped up. So, a bounce back is expected when they take on Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Sevilla Shorthanded vs Barcelona
Yassine Bounou has been one of the best keepers in La Liga this season, but the Moroccan international picked up a nasty head injury in a 4-1 World Cup-clinching win over DR Congo. He’s doubtful for second-place Sevilla’s Sunday match vs. Barcelona at the Camp Nou and joins a lengthy injury list for Sevilla.
With multiple key players out, Julen Lopetegui’s side have barely treaded water for the last few months. They’ve drawn seven of their last nine La Liga matches and were eliminated by West Ham in the Europa League round of 16. Say what you will about the trend, but Los Sevillistas still haven’t lost in La Liga since November. The La Liga betting odds suggest that could change this weekend.
As one-goal favorites coming into Sunday, Barcelona are getting a lot of respect from the oddsmakers. Given how they’ve performed in recent weeks, it’s easy to see why. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s resurgence since joining from Arsenal in January has been a sight to see. The Gabon international striker scored a brace vs. Real Madrid and has seven goals in seven La Liga matches since his transfer.
During their five-game winning streak in La Liga, third-place Barça have outscored their opponents by a whopping 18-2 and show no signs of letting up. With a mix of accomplished veterans and call-ups from La Masia, Xavi has found success in his short time as manager and has helped accelerate Barcelona’s rebuild.
La Liga betting tips suggest the Catalan club are favorites to win the Europa League and they could even make a late push to challenge Real Madrid for the La Liga title. They’ve beaten two other members of the top four in recent weeks and have a great chance to make it all three and move into second place when they host Sevilla.
With Sevilla potentially missing Bounou, Thomas Delaney, Rafa Mir, Marcos Acuna, Papu Gomez and Suso, and Barcelona averaging 3.6 goals in their last five La Liga contests, Barça over 1½ looks interesting.
Benzema Nearing Return for Real Madrid
Missing Karim Benzema in Real Madrid’s 4-0 loss to Barcelona, Carlo Ancelotti deployed an unconventional strikerless formation. It speaks to his mistrust of Luka Jovic and Mariano and also made abundantly clear how much Los Blancos rely on Benzema for goals.
The 34-year old leads La Liga in both goals and assists and scored an incredible second-half hat trick to knock PSG out of the Champions League a few weeks ago. He had to pull out of France’s squad over the international break due to his calf injury, but Saturday vs. Celta Vigo is expected to be his first match since mid-March.
That’s bad news for the Celta Vigo defense, which surrendered a Benzema hat trick against them in September. In the last six games that Benzema’s played in La Liga, he’s scored seven goals. Real are 5-0-1 and have averaged nearly three goals per game in those matches.
Plus, both previous times Real have lost in La Liga, they’ve won their next match. It’s curious that Real are just -105 favorites at Celta Vigo this weekend, especially as Celta have lost more games than they’ve won at home. Despite Ancelotti testing positive for COVID-19 in the lead-up to the match, you’ll find most La Liga betting tips predicting a Madrid win this weekend.
Defensive Improvement Sparks Atletico’s Streak
Barcelona aren’t necessarily the hottest team in La Liga as fourth-place Atletico Madrid have matched their five-game winning streak. Diego Simeone’s squad has gone through some rough patches this season, but the defending La Liga champions also knocked out Manchester United in the UCL and will be hoping for a shock takedown of Manchester United’s rivals, Manchester City, in the quarterfinals.
Before heading to Manchester on Tuesday, Atletico host an Alaves side that look destined for relegation. Alaves have picked up just six points on the road and have lost seven of their last eight La Liga matches away from home.
It’ll be a boost for Alaves that captain/midfielder Koke and forward Angel Correa are suspended for Atletico. Regardless, La Liga soccer predictions have Atleti as heavy favorites in this match. Since going through a stretch of six games in all competitions in which they conceded two or more goals from mid-January to February, Atletico have conceded one goal or fewer in their last eight matches.
With their defensive improvement, Atletico should be in the top four at the end of the season and currently holds a four-point cushion over fifth-place Real Betis. There’s not much value on Atletico Madrid’s -290 moneyline on Saturday, but it’d be a little surprising if Alaves found the net.