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 is Terry's Valencia v Sevilla and Barcelona v Malaga tips.
Valencia v Sevilla (Sat, 5.30pm)
High-flying Valencia go into this one in tremendous form and plenty of confidence. Last week’s 6-3 away win at Betis ensured they are the focus of attention in this game – probably the game of this weekend for many in La Liga.
Their strength this season has been in their all-out commitment to attacking football and are certainly gaining more and more admirers by the week.
La Liga is all the better with a vibrant Valencia in it. However, this week they face opponents at the Mestalla who have only been involved in low-scoring outcomes this season on their travels.
Sevilla have played four, scored two and conceded three away from home. They have still managed to pick up two wins of course, both with the scoreline of 1-0.
Despite Sevilla being hard to score against in La Liga away from home I’m predicting Valencia to continue the attacking style and once again be among the goals.
Sevilla showed a vulnerability on Tuesday away from home in the Champions League when they were soundly beaten 5-1 at Spartak Moscow and it’s going to be interesting to see the reaction from manager Eduardo Berizzo regarding his tactics on Saturday. He is getting severely criticised about his rotation policy as he is making an average of 6.5 changes per game.
I’m not sure Sevilla have enough players of sufficient quality for him to continue to do that. His selections have also denied the team an opportunity to have a defined style and identity. Not like Sevilla at all.
Valencia play a 4-4-2 and had six different scorers against Betis so first scorer is not an easy call. Therefore I’m going to go with the most likely in Simone Zaza who is top scorer on seven to score first and for Valencia to win 3-1.
- Valencia 3, Sevilla 1 (23-2, Unibet)
- Zaza to score first (43-10, Unibet)
- Valencia to win (evens, Unibet)
Barcelona v Malaga (Sat, 7.45pm)
A warning before I start this preview regarding “bogey” teams! Barcelona failed last season to beat Malaga in two La Liga meetings and didn’t even score against them. It was 0-0 at the Nou Camp and a damaging, title costing 2-0 defeat at the Rosaleda in April.
The difficulties for Barcelona against Malaga go back even further than just last season. Over the last three seasons and six games in the league Barcelona have won two, Malaga have won two and two have been drawn.
Aggregate scoring is in fact Malaga 4 -3 up against Barcelona during this period. However, Malaga have had a decent team during this run and maybe that isn’t the case this season.
They sit rock bottom of the table with one point from eight games. They have only scored in two games and have yet to score an away goal this season.
With stats like this it would be easy to conclude that Malaga are useless but that isn’t totally the case and I wouldn’t write them off in terms of surviving in La Liga just yet.
I am writing them off in this game though. Despite them being difficult opponents for Barcelona in recent seasons I believe the difference in quality between the two teams is too great for them to continue the good run of results against Messi and co.
Complacency will be Barcelona’s biggest opponent in this game. It was a relative stroll midweek for Valverde’s team against Olympiakos and they should clearly have too much in the locker to win comfortably in this game.
So despite the Malaga “hoodoo” tag I can only see a Barcelona victory. I’m going for a 4-0 Barca win with the improving – sharper Luis Suarez opening the scoring.
- Barcelona 4, Malaga 0 (13-2, Unibet)
- Suarez to score first (5-2, Unibet)
- Barcelona to win to nil (3-4, Unibet)
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