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 three Saturday fixtures in La Liga.
Valencia v Leganes (Sat 12pm)
It’s the second best attack against the second best defence in La Liga this season for this match up. Second place Valencia trail Barcelona by just one goal, with a total of 27 scored.
Seventh place Leganés have only conceded five so far, which again is only bettered by Barcelona who have conceded just the three.
Leganés conceded two of those last week at Sevilla in an eventual 2-1 defeat and this is another true test on the road.
Valencia certainly weren’t at their best last week in the narrow 2-1 win at Alavés but still got the job done. Maintaining their high level of performance is going to be tough for Marcelino’s team but they will certainly be helped playing back at the Mestalla.
It was the striking duo who got the goals last week for Valencia and that is now a combined total of 15 between the front pair. Zaza got the first for his ninth of the season and Rodrigo scored his sixth.
I have a lot of admiration for Leganés, especially how coach Asier Garitano sets his team up but unfortunately for them, I feel that the defensive solidity that they have been built on will not be enough for them this week.
I’m going to go for the heaviest defeat of the season for Leganés so far.
It’s a toss up between Zaza and Rodrigo for first goal scorer but I’m going for Zaza in a 3-0 home win.
- Correct score: Valencia 3, Leganes 0 (9-1, Unibet)
- First scorer: Zaza (17-5, Unibet)
- Valencia to win -1 (69-50, Unibet)
Deportivo v Atletico Madrid (Sat 3.15pm)
Depor’s new coach Cristobal Parralo had a bizarre first week in the job after replacing Pepe Mel. His first two games were both against Las Palmas.
They initially faced them at home in the midweek Copa del Rey 1st leg fixture and got soundly beaten 4-1. Ironically, they then had to travel for the game on Monday evening to the Canary Islands to face the same opponents in the league and won 3-1.
The three points in the league were certainly welcome and if you had given him the choice, I believe the league fixture was the most important to him and the club.
Atletico are stumbling their way through the opening half of the season. It appears now that all is lost regarding the Champions League after their failure to beat Qarabag in either of the two ties.
They have to step it up in La Liga too. Admittedly, they are still undefeated but they are far from convincing. It was another draw last week at home to Villarreal, which was their fifth of the season.
We also have to take into account that they have played six games away and four at home, due to them having the delayed start in their new stadium.
However, the big concern must be the defensive side of their game. Yes, we are talking about Atletico and defensive woes!
They are conceding all of their goals from set-pieces and crosses into the box. They have never matched R Madrid and Barcelona for goalscoring but have always given themselves a chance of success with their unbelievable defensive record. Sadly for Simeone, that currently isn’t the case at the moment.
There is a feeling now that it’s easier to get crosses into the box and certainly far easier to score once you do that. The fact that they are not free-flowing in attack either certainly makes it easier to play against Atletico at the moment.
TW of Depor’s goals in last week’s win at Las Palmas were scored with headers from Celso Borges. One was from a corner and one from open play, and the tall attacking midfield may well have some joy in this game.
Koke and Carrasco, in my opinion, are missed at the moment, both are out injured and I believe Atletico might struggle once again in this game.
I’m going to go for another draw for Simeone’s team with the scoreline of 1-1.
They desperately need more from Griezmann in terms of an attacking threat and I’m going to go for him to get the opener but for Depor to fight back to share the spoils.
- Correct score: Deportivo 1, Altetico Madrid 1 (23-4, Unibet)
- First scorer: Griezmann (39-10, Unibet)
- Under 2.5 goals (4-5, Unibet)
Barcelona v Sevilla (Sat 7.45pm)
Both teams have had to contend with midweek Champions League fixtures. Barca drew at Olympiakos and Sevilla had a stressful 2-1 victory at home to Spartak Moscow.
Barca played on Tuesday, as opposed to Sevilla playing on Wednesday, so there has been a touch more recovery time for Valverde’s team.
Barcelona will be without midfield players Sergi Roberto and Andre Gomes, who are both out injured for around four weeks, while Andres Iniesta is also a doubt for this one. Valverde’s options in that department will be severely restricted for the next few games.
From Barcelona’s perspective though, the key player in this fixture is available.
Sevilla are Lionel Messi’s favourite opponent. Statistically it is the case that they are the team that he has scored more against than any other. He has scored 29 goals in 30 appearances against them in all competitions and has 23 La Liga goals in 21 appearances.
He got a brace in the corresponding fixture last season, which resulted in a 3-0 win.
It’s hard not to see another similar scoreline in this game. Sevilla are decent and sit fifth in the league but have been pretty average on their travels, winning two, losing three, scoring just twice and conceding seven.
Once again, they are unsurprisingly stronger at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, which is the norm for them. They have accumulated just six points away, compared to an impressive 13 at home, with four wins and a draw from five played.
So, for me, it is the home form of Barcelona, who have played five and won five, and the presence of Lionel Messi that will decide this tie. Barca have scored 18 at home and Eibar’s Sergi Enrich is the only visiting player to have scored in the Nou Camp so far this season.
I’m going to go for normality in this fixture. That is for Messi to open the scoring, Barcelona to keep a clean sheet and for them to win by a scoreline of 3-0.
- Correct score: Barca 3, Sevilla 0 (8-1, Unibet)
- First scorer: Messi (21-10, Unibet)
- Barca to keep a clean sheet (32-25, Unibet)
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