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 matches.
Real Madrid v Villarreal (Sat 3.15pm)
In normal circumstances it would be straightforward to see a hard-fought home win, especially when you take into account that Villarreal have never won at the Bernabeu.
However, these are anything but normal circumstances at Real. It was yet another La Liga game not won last week at Celta Vigo, in all honesty they were fortunate to take a point and that now means they are a whopping 16 points behind leaders Barcelona.
Madrid have failed to win in eight of their 17 La Liga fixtures so far this season, understandably three of those were defeats against Barcelona and drawing with Atletico and Valencia, but to lose to Girona and Betis and fail to beat Levante, Celta and Athletic Bilbao is a miserable return. They only failed to win nine games in the whole of last season in total and we are still not halfway through this campaign.
Villarreal are a decent team but are proving to be inconsistent and will have been hacked off that they got knocked out of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday against Leganés on the away goal rule. I fancy them every season to have a right go at that competition, as it’s their best chance of winning what would be their first ever major trophy, but it never materialises.
They have won their last two on the road at Celta and Valencia, pretty impressive indeed, but they drew at home last week against lowly Deportivo la Coruńa and that sums them up at the moment.
If the best version of Villarreal turns up at the Bernabeu with genuine belief this could be a troublesome afternoon for Zidane.
Cedric Bakambu has departed for China in a big money move, while Enes Unal, a relatively big money signing from Manchester City has returned from his emergency loan spell at Levante and Colombian striker Roger Martinez has been brought in as Bakambu’s replacement at a cost of €15m. So, along with Carlos Bacca they are well stocked in the striker department for this game.
They will start with two up front and my guess is that it will be the Colombian duo of Bacca and Martinez.
I’m waffling on now in an attempt to come up with a prediction!
I’m struggling to trust either team if I’m being honest, so I’m going to trust an individual to be the difference.
I’m going to go for the home win with the scoreline of 2-1 and I’m going to back Gareth Bale to rise above the deteriorating confidence of his team mates to be the match winner.
He is the joint top La Liga scorer for Real Madrid with four and he has only participated in seven games so far. He got a brace last week at Celta and was the only positive from that game.
I’m definitely going for him to get the first goal and wouldn’t be surprised to see him get both.
- Real 2, Villarreal 1 (17-2, Unibet)
- Bale to score first (7-2, Unibet)
- Bale to score last (7-2, Unibet)
Eibar v Atletico Madrid (Sat 5.30pm)
How can I predict that Eibar won’t get anything in this game? They are on an unbelievable run at the moment, with six wins and a draw in their last seven games.
Nevertheless, I’ve always found with Eibar that however well they are playing, they always come up short against the top teams in the division and second-place Atletico certainly fall into that category.
Clashes between these two prove my point. It’s six wins from six over the 3 seasons Eibar have been in the top flight for Simeone’s team. It’s 13-3 on aggregate and 7-1 at the Ipurua.
Despite Diego Costa being suspended for this one, I’m still going to predict that Atletico will once again be too strong for Mendilibar’s plucky team.
They have had two 2-0 victories in this stadium, along with a 3-1 win.
A repeat of 2-0 sounds about right for me and although he has been relatively quiet of late, I’m backing Griezmann to get the first.
- Eibar 1, Atletico 2 (8-1, Unibet)
- Griezmann to score first (41-10, Unibet)
- Atletico win to nil (15-8, Unibet)
Deportivo v Valencia (Sat 7.45pm)
Valencia bounced back last week after losing three of four prior to the Xmas break with a tough 2-1 home win against Girona.
Importantly, they have some reinforcements in the building now with on-loan Atletico Madrid striker Luciano Vietto and Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin.
Both players are needed desperately as Valencia were operating with a relatively small squad and any injuries or suspensions to their first-choice players certainly hampered them.
Both of these players have been brought in as the club genuinely feel, rightly so, that they can finish in the top four, possibly top three and find their way back into Europe’s elite competition.
Vietto fired in a hat-trick on his full debut midweek in the Copa del Rey win against Las Palmas. Not a bad start indeed.
Depor got a 1-1 draw last week away at Villarreal, which is a really good result. I saw Florin Andone scored and I wondered if the coach Cristobal Parralo had finally come to his senses and played Andone alongside Lucas Perez as a twin strikeforce. Of course, he didn’t Perez was out injured!
If Perez is fit this week will he dare to play both?
Depor only have one win in the last 11 games and I would be surprised to see if they make it two in 12 this week.
I’m going for an away win with the scoreline of 2-1 and I’m going for Simone Zaza to be the first scorer. He is back from suspension after missing last week’s win at Girona
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