THERE are four more La Liga matches today and the ones punters will be focusing on are Valencia v Real Madrid and Real Sociedad v Barcelona.
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti says his team selection won’t be affected by having to face Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday as his side go for 23 competitive wins in a row.
Ancelotti knows his side face testing trip to Valencia and says he’ll put out his strongest side at the Mestalla.
That being the case I’m happy to back Real at 3-5 with BetVictor and McBookie. Eight of the last nine meetings at the Mestalla have gone over 2.5 goals and a repeat pays 1-2 with firms such as bet365.
Madrid start the new year with a one-point lead over Barcelona with a game in hand while fourth-placed Valencia are also going well.
They have only lose once at home this season – going down to a 90th-minute goal against Barcelona – but Real have been beating everyone (and forget that Milan friendly). I expect Cristiano Ronaldo to start where he left off before the break with a goal and he is 3-1 at Paddy Power and William Hill to score first and 8-13 at 888sport to net at any time.
Valencia could give new signing Enzo Perez a debut to remember having signed from Benfica for 25m euros.
Barcelona have won 10 and draw one of their last 11 as they head for an equally tough test at Davie Moyes’s Real Sociedad – a ground where they haven’t won in five visits.
Moyes has made his side difficult to beat but when Barca come to town the Sociedad fans expect their side to go for glory. They defeated Atletico and Real at home before Moyes’s arrival but if they sit in as expected they’re likely to be picked off by a refreshed Barca.
Sociedad’s hopes rae hit however by injuries midfielder David Zurutuza, right-back Zaldua and forward Imanol Agirretxe. Star striker Carlos Vela and central defender Gorka Elustondo are doubtful but Esteban Granero returns from injury and is expected to start.
A best price of 1-3 at Ladbrokes and William Hill won’t tempt everyone so I’m going to be boring and go with Lionel Messi at 3-1 with bet365 to score first. If either Ronaldo or Messi hit their side’s opener I’ll be happy enough.
Ronaldo to score first (4pm)
(3-1, Paddy Power, William Hill)
Messi to score first (8pm)
(21-20, BetVictor, McBookie)