Spanish Football Tips: Real risk another slip-up as they put Europe first

Ronaldo

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.

Here are Terry’s tips for two crucial Saturday matches.

Malaga v Atletico Madrid (Sat 3.15pm)

Despite Malaga being really busy in the transfer window, there wasn’t much improvement when they lost late on at Las Palmas on Monday evening.

Seven new players have joined, they have a new manager in Jose Gonzalez but it all looked the same in Gran Canaria. Jose Gonzalez looks content to grind out draws, which are no good whatsoever to his team, who lie firmly in bottom position in the league.

Former West Brom Striker Brown Ideye made his debut against Las Palmas and showed a little bit of promise but got no service or support from his team-mates in attack.

Malaga have scored one goal in their last seven in La Liga, that’s six games without scoring and they play Atletico Madrid on Saturday, good luck!

Atletico do have problems in their defensive line, with Savic and Godin out injured but they have more than able deputies in Lucas Hernandez and Jose Giminez.

The betting in this game has to be on goalscoring. Can Malaga score? Will Atletico keep another clean sheet? I’m going for Malaga to score but Atletico to win.

The onus has to be on Malaga being more offensive, they are seven points adrift from safety, so it’s kind of fair to assume that they must know they need wins before it is all too late, and to win you have to start scoring!

If Malaga are to score it will be from a set-piece, maybe a long throw from Luis Hernandez, but in being more offensive I expect them at some stage to get picked off by Simeone’s side.

Despite Atletico being on Europa League duty on Thursday I expect a strong team to be picked by Simeone.

Terry’s Tips

  • Malaga 1, Atletico 3 (15-1, Unibet)
  • Griezmann to score first (31-10, Unibet)
  • Atletico win and btts (4-1, Unibet)

 

Real Madrid v Sociedad (Sat 7.45pm)

I did warn you last week that Madrid couldn’t be trusted to beat Levante and unbelievably that proved to be the case. Giampaolo Pazzini’s last-gasp equaliser didn’t come as a massive surprise as it was one of a whole host of chances created in the closing stages of the game.

Chances created against the reigning European and Spanish champions by a team that haven’t won in 10 games puts that into greater context.

Despite Real Madrid being at home against another team who have been on a barren run, bar the 5-0 home win against Deportivo la Coruńa last week, the warning signs are even stronger for this game. It comes just days before Real take on PSG in the Champions League.

Clearly a game that is the biggest issue now for Real and Zidane in saving their season and probably his job.

Secondly, Real Sociedad are a far better team than Levante and genuinely have sufficient quality to get a rare win at the Bernabeu. Their last victory at the stadium was back in May 2004 and since then they have only managed one further win and that was at the Anoeta in August 2014.

It’s one win in 21 for Real Sociedad against their hosts and they will relish the opportunity of succeeding in this game.

Sociedad also have a Europa League game on Thursday against Red Bull Salzburg but coach Eusebio Sacristan doesn’t have sufficient numbers in his squad to be able to rest players. Playing Saturday and then Thursday shouldn’t be an issue for him and his team anyway.

For Zidane though, it’s a priority to have his best players available for the PSG game. I expect players to be rested in this match and I would be very surprised if there isn’t.

It will be interesting to see how many changes he makes as retaining the league title is now a total lost cause.

The second-string team of last season would have still been big favourites for a game like this but that side had James Rodriguez, Morata, Pepe and Danilo in it. This season’s has struggled to replicate that important function and they bowed out of the Copa del Rey losing at home to Leganés and even drew 2-2 with third tier Fuenlabrada at the Bernabeu.

Dani Carvajal is suspended for the first leg of the Champions League, so he will play in this one but I have no idea who else will join him to face Real Sociedad.

Expect the likes of Kiko Casilla, Theo Hernandez and Marcos Llorente to get a runout along with maybe Borja Mayoral up front. If Isco starts along with Marco Asensio, they know they are not being picked against Paris, so maybe they will have the hump, that doesn’t help things either.

Maybe it’s not so far-fetched that Real Sociedad can get something from this game. I’m backing them to do just that, I’m finding it difficult under the uncertainty of team selection to back them to win but I’m going to back them for the draw, whichever team Zidane picks.

Terry’s Tips

  • Real Madrid 2, Sociedad 2 (15-1, Unibet)
  • Willian Jose to score first (21-2, Unibet)
  • Draw (23-4, Unibet)

 

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