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 games on Saturday.
Sevilla v Atheltic Bilbao (Sat, 3.15pm)
I’m finding this a pretty straightforward fixture to predict as Sevilla don’t have a midweek European fixture ahead and Athletic Bilbao do. Sevilla’s return fixture against Manchester United isn’t until the week after and Athletic Bilbao travel to Marseille for their Thursday evening game in the Europa League.
I’m assuming that a stronger looking Sevilla line-up will be too good for Athletic in their own stadium. A win for Sevilla at bottom of the table Malaga on Wednesday was achieved with a much-changed team, but the usual starters will be back for this game.
Athletic were at full pelt in their home draw with Valencia, also on Wednesday and that was certainly a more vigorous game for them. Sevilla’s strength at home and a stronger line-up will be too strong for determined opponents.
Luis Muriel took no part in the game against Malaga, I’m assuming he will start in this game and I’m backing him to get the opening goal in a 2-0 home win.
Real Madrid v Getafe (Sat, 7.45pm)
Talking of midweek European fixtures I’m sure you have heard by now that Madrid travel to Paris next midweek! As if we didn’t know already before the midweek defeat at Espanyol, they are now firmly out of the title race and the destiny of the season is all on the line in the second leg in Paris.
The starting line-up against Espanyol was certainly unfamiliar and that’s exactly as it looked in terms of a Real performance. Admittedly for Zidane his hand was forced in terms of players being injured and ill. Modric, Kroos and Marcelo are all facing a fitness battle to be fit for midweek. Casemiro was ill and Ronaldo, Carvajal and Benzema were all rested.
This game is a huge dilemma for him and Getafe are one of the hardest working, most determined and functional teams in La Liga this season. Does he risk using the big hitters before the Paris Saint-Germain game? I’m not too sure about the fitness of Modric and Kroos, it’s even touch and go if they are fit for Paris.
If he plays a similar team to the one that started against Espanyol then I believe the win is in doubt. If they don’t win and play well will that affect morale going into the Champions League game? It’s a delicate balancing act for Zidane.
Getafe, with 36 points, can play with a certain freedom. For a team who came up via the play-offs which end in mid-June that is an incredible achievement. They are safe from relegation already. If Getafe play with freedom that won’t mean being open and recklessly attack minded. It will mean that they will play with their usual two strikers in a 4-4-2 formation.
If Jose Bordolas goes with Angel and Jorge Molina up front together they will score. He might though just go with the one striker and drop an extra midfielder into the system. I’m guessing he will be as mystified as the rest of us when it comes to predicting Zidane’s starting team. He might just err on the side of caution.
Now it’s my turn to guess! I’m going for a watered down version of Madrid, I think the stakes are too high to risk the stars if there are any doubts. All of the thoughts of Madrid’s players, manager, fans and media will firmly be on the Champions League and I’m going to go for the 1-1 draw.
All will be forgiven if they get through to the next round on Tuesday. I’m going to go for Getafe to take the lead in this one and Madrid to eventually break them down to get the equaliser. Angel is the more likely starter up front if Bordolas only plays the lone striker so I’m going for him to have the pace on a counter attack to get in behind and open the scoring.
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