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 big Saturday fixtures in La Liga.
Leganes v Barcelona (Sat 3.15pm)
My immediate instinct is to go for a Barcelona win, nothing too surprising there. However, this might not be as straightforward as one would imagine.
Leganés have lost the last two games, conceding five goals in the process. They were, in their defence – and defence is a big issue with this team – both away games at good sides in Sevilla and Valencia.
Prior to this they had only conceded three in the previous nine. Somehow they accumulate points without scoring too many. At home they have won two, drawn and lost just once (2-1 to Getafe).
They have managed to pick up eight points in their own stadium despite scoring only times. I’m scratching my head at how they have done this.
Further scrutiny reveals that Getafe defeat is the only game they've conceded in at home. They have had two 1-0 wins and two goalless draws – four clean sheets in five games.
Is it possible for Leganés to keep Barcelona at bay in this game? Not in my opinion I’m afraid. They play a 4-4-1-1 formation with enough attacking midfielders to suggest that there are more goals in this team but I just can’t see them outscoring Valverde’s team or keeping them out for 90 minutes.
The international break certainly favours the home team in terms of preparation but Lionel Messi left the Argentina team early to return at the beginning of the week. Luis Suarez also was omitted from Uruguay’s commitments.
He has been training feverishly in a sandpit for two weeks in an attempt to recover fully from a knee injury picked up in the Super Cup back in August. We’ll see how that works out in this game.
Due to the greater quality, I’m going for a hard earned away win with the scoreline of 2-0 to Barcelona. If Suarez looks fitter, sharper and gets amongst the goals it will be a huge boost for him and Barcelona and I’m backing him to get the first goal.
- Correct score: Leganes 0, Barca 2 (21-4, Unibet)
- First scorer: Suraez (31-10, Unibet)
- Goal in both halves (14-25, Unibet)
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid (Sat 7.45pm)
A hugely important encounter for so many reasons and the first Derbi madrileño in the Wanda Metropolitano. Both teams could be accused of underachieving this season. As things stand, both are on 23 points, trailing leaders Barcelona by eight points.
If Barca win at Leganés prior to this fixture, the gap will be 11 points before kick-off. Therefore defeat for either side would be catastrophic in terms of a La Liga title challenge. Come to think of it a draw wouldn’t be much help to either.
Atletico go into the game unbeaten but with a record of six wins and five draws in their league campaign whilst R. Madrid have drawn two and lost two already this season. Certainly Atletico have to improve on recent performances against Zinedine Zidane’s team.
Diego Simeone will be boosted by the fact that Koke and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco are both fit again after being absent for a month – they make such a big difference to his team.
Raphael Varane returns for R. Madrid and that is good news for Zidane, though there will still be no Keylor Navas and Dani Carvajal. The news that Bale picked up another injury in training this week is a massive blow to him and the club.
Both teams will be looking to get back to basics which means improvement at opposite ends of the pitch. Surprisingly, Atletico have become easier to score against, particularly from crosses and set-pieces.
Real will be looking for their regular goal scorers, Cristaino Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, to find their rhythm in front of goal. Who will come out on top?
I’m going to go for the result that suits neither I’m afraid. I’m going for improved focus and determination in defence from Atletico to keep out R. Madrid – a goalless draw.
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