Another low-scoring La Liga weekend for Barca and Real Madrid
Goals were at a premium across the whole of the Spanish top tier in the opening round of La Liga fixtures, with four of the 10 matches finishing 0-0.
Many will be looking towards Barcelona and Real Madrid improving the scoring ratios in the second round of action, but we are certainly not expecting the floodgates to open. Here are some thoughts on three matches this weekend:
Barcelona to fare no better against Malaga than against Athletic Bilbao
Not since the 1970s have Barcelona failed to score in three successive matches with Malaga, but this is a statistic that could be emulated at the Nou Camp.
Both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez played for 180 minutes without breaching the Malaga backline last term and the South American pair had contrasting days in the campaign’s opener at Bilbao.
While Messi was missing a penalty, Suarez was busy grabbing the only goal to get the Catalan giants off to a winning La Liga start.
Malaga are likely to be tough to break down again based on their performance in a goalless opener with Sevilla and so Barca may have to settle for another 1-0 victory, despite their abundance of attacking riches, which can be backed at 17/2.
Real to recall attacking pair, but will still struggle to beat Betis with a handicap
Only three times has an eventual La Liga champion opened the season with a 0-0, which suggests that the cards are stacked against Real Madrid following their draw with newly-promoted Sporting Gijon.
Even Jose Mourinho couldn’t overcome this trend in the 2010/11 season when starting with a goalless draw at Mallorca.
Up next for Rafa Benitez is another La Liga newcomer in the form of Real Betis and expect both Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez to return to the starting line-up.
Madrid have won the last five meetings between the pair at the Bernabeu, but Benitez is not known to be overly adventurous with his tactics.
Backing Betis with a two-goal headstart at 2/1 appeals, while those of a more cautious persuasion may prefer the 5/6 on Pepe Mel’s side winning with a +3 handicap.
Champions League pair to play out a draw
Did you know that Barcelona and Real Madrid are the only visiting teams to have won away at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium since January of last year? In fact, Sevilla have avoided defeat in 26 of their last 27 Spanish top flight home matches.
This shows the size of the task awaiting Atletico Madrid if they harbour hopes of retaining their 100-per-cent-winning start to the new season. Only five teams are in with a shout of achieving this through two gameweeks of fixtures.
Atletico themselves don’t lose many either and have been beaten just once in their last 16 league encounters. Furthermore, they are on an 11-game unbeaten streak against Sevilla.
The draw looks far and away the most obvious result here and is available at 9/4.
Don’t forget these matches can also be streamed live at Ladbrokes.com.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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