Spanish Football Tips: No bother for big three

messi_barcelona

REMEMBER Terry Gibson? Well, we’ve signed him and while he won’t be kicking a football he’ll be looking into his crystal ball and bringing us his best Spanish tips every week.

The ex-Spurs, Coventry and Manchester United striker is probably best remembered for his time as part of the infamous Wimbledon Crazy Gang side of the late 80s and early 90s. Now an expert in all things La Liga he works as a pundit and co-commentator on Sky Sports’ Spanish football coverage and is a contributor to unibet.

After his 863-1 correct score treble last week, here are Terry’s tips for three key Sunday games.

Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao (Sun 3.15pm)

This generally would be regarded as one of the tougher fixtures for Barcelona but one which they normally win and I’m expecting that to be the case again this weekend. It’s 13 straight home wins for Barcelona in this match-up and Athletic Bilbao were last victorious back in November 2001.

It really isn’t the best version of Athletic this season and their form has been pretty uninspiring to say the least. Last season they finished in seventh place earning a Europa League spot and accumulated 63 points. This season they have accumulated just 35 and lie in 12th.

With Luis Suarez suspended for this game, will Paco Alcacer get an opportunity or will it be a front three of Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele? Still unbeaten, Barcelona are huge favourites in this game and I’m not expecting any dramas.

Ernesto Valverde should take the opportunity to rest a few of the regular starting line up but they should still have plenty in reserve to defeat Athletic Bilbao. I don’t think for one minute it will be easy but I’m going to go for a 3-0 home win.

With Dembele getting his first goal for Barcelona in the win against Chelsea and Coutinho now finding his feet at the Nou Camp they just might get away without Suarez in this game. After all of that, I’m still going for Messi to be the first goalscorer.

Terry’s Tips

  • Barca 3, Bilbao 0 (27-5, Unibet)
  • Messi to score first (39-20, Unibet)
  • Barca to score in both halves (29-50, Unibet)

 

Villarreal v Atletico Madrid (Sun 5.30pm)

It was back to winning ways for both last weekend. Atletico returned to form with a 3-0 win against Celta Vigo after defeat against Barcelona, and Villarreal took a couple of the many chances that came their way in a 2-0 victory at Las Palmas.

That was a much needed three points for Villarreal and Javier Calleja as the pressure was just beginning to tell for the Yellow Submarine and their manager. They have been really inconsistent this season, losing three of the last four home games and a defeat against a team in the relegation zone would have piled on the pressure indeed.

They have however won the last two of their home games against Atletico and Diego Simeone. Atleti haven’t even scored in those two losing 1-0 and 3-0 but despite these recent setbacks against Villarreal I’m going to go for an away win.

Atletico are extremely motivated to finish at the very worst in second place this season. They will be desperate to finish above rivals Real and are aware that they have suffered in the last couple of seasons in this stadium.

Simeone rested players for the game on Thursday against Locomotiv Moscow in preparation for this match and they are in great form, winning seven of their last eight in La Liga and 12 wins from 13 in all competitions.

Antoine Griezmann is on fire, Vitolo is settling in and they still look exactly the same defensively. Simeone knows that this is a tough game and his team will be ready. I’m predicting a fired-up Costa to lead the way with an effective performance although I’m going to go for Griezmann to be the opening scorer in a 2-0 win.

Terry’s Tips

  • Villarreal 0, Atletico 2 (15-2, Unibet)
  • Griezmann to score first (39-10, Unibet)
  • Atletico to keep a clean sheet (32-25, Unibet)

 

Real Madrid v Girona (Sun 7.45pm)

Revenge will be on the minds of the Real players in this game on Sunday evening. Girona were 2-1 victors in their first ever La Liga meeting back in October and that result was one of a few damaging games for Madrid and Zidane at that stage of the season.

Girona go into this game in great form winning three consecutive games after being thrashed 6-1 at Barcelona. They incredibly lie in seventh place, just one point behind Villarreal, currently in a possible Europa League spot.

Cristhian Stuani has scored 15 league goals this season and that output has not only been a surprise but has been very effective and important for Girona, along with Portu’s 11 you can see how vital the goals of those two players have been in their successful first season of top flight football.

Real have certainly got to watch out for Girona and effectiveness from set pieces. 18 of the 40 goals that they have scored have come from those this season with Stuani being the obvious threat. Despite lauding praise on Girona I’m struggling to make a case for them getting something in this game.

I believe prior to the international break, Zidane will put out a very strong starting lineup and his recent selection policy has certainly shaken things up when it comes to players fighting for a place in his strongest team.

Real have been in great form of late, clearly a return to their form of last season and that applies clearly to Cristiano Ronaldo. His recent form has seen him surge back to regular ways and his La Liga total of 18 goals certainly looks much more normal now.

I expect Girona to be bold and courageous with their approach, they won’t change from their usual set up of a 3-4-2-1 formation but I anticipate that they will come up short in this match. I can’t help but think back to their recent game at the Nou Camp when they played well, scored the first goal of the game but then lost 6-1.

I’m sure they would have learnt a lesson or two from that game but I’m not sure the difference in quality can be breached this time out at the Bernabeu. Real are struggling to keep clean sheets so I’m going to go for a 4-1 home win with Ronaldo getting the opener and possibly one or two of the others as well.

Terry’s Tips

  • Real 4, Girona 1 (21-2, Unibet)
  • Ronaldo to score first (47-20, Unibet)
  • Both teams to score (17-25, Unibet)

 

 

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