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Malaga vs. Villarreal CF Predictions, Tips, & Picks 11/28/11

One of the top teams on the La Liga table, Malaga is going to have its work cut out for it on Monday at home when it takes on Villarreal CF.

Malaga has gotten just about everything done that it ever could have imagined in the first dozen games of the year. The team has six wins already in its 12 matches, and it has been in quite fine form. Malaga survived two straight road games against Racing Santander and Real Betis, coming up with a solid four points in those games. Now, the team is back at home for the first time this month, off of a 2-1 win over Espanyol right here at this venue on October 30th. Thus far on the campaign at home, Malaga has gotten the maximum points at La Rosaleda, save for a home game against Real Madrid. No one is expecting this team to compete with the top teams in La Liga, and just even remotely thinking about qualifying for European competition next year would be a remarkable accomplishment.

Malaga vs. Villarreal FC Date/Time: Monday, November 28th, 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Malaga vs. Villarreal FC Television Coverage: ESPN3.com

Ruud van Nistelrooy could have a huge impact on this team by the time the season is said and done with, but the man that is really coming up with the big plays offensively is Santi Cazorla. He has four goals and an assist this year to lead the way for the team.

If you take out that game against Madrid, the defense for Malaga has been remarkable as well, holding teams to just a total of 11 goals in 11 matches.

It has been a frustrating season to say the least for Villarreal. The team was fortunate enough to make it into the Champions League, but its stay there has been a short one. Through five fixtures, the Spanish side has been left without a single point, and that being said, it won’t even get the chance to play in the Europa League.

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Things haven’t been much better domestically either. The squad has a -7 goal differential through 12 matches, though we do have to admit that games against Barcelona and Real Madrid have ended with losses of 5-0 and 3-0 on the road. Villarreal has picked up seven points from its last three matches though, which has to at least give a tad bit of hope that perhaps a turnaround can come and get this team away from the bottom of the table.

Villarreal won 3-2 in this fixture a season ago on the road, and the last time that Malaga won a match in this rivalry was at the end of the 2008-09 season, a 2-0 win at home.

Malaga is the comfortable odds on favorite to take all three points from this match. La Liga predictions will be made in this one based upon a -140 line in favorite of the hosts.

Posted in Featured, La Liga (Spain)

Murcia vs. Deportivo La Coruna Predictions, Tips, & Picks 11/7/11

Last season was a dreadful one for Deportivo La Coruna. The team was relegated out of La Liga for the first time in decades, and they are now stuck playing in the Segunda. On Monday, they play a standalone match against Murcia, a match would could propel either team back towards the top flight of Spanish soccer.

Amazingly enough, neither of these teams, which were once both staples in the Spanish Liga Primera in recent years, are anywhere near an automatic promotion spot. La Coruna is currently in eighth position with 19 points in 11 matches, though it can move into the promotion playoff picture with just a point from this fixture. Murcia is three spots behind with 18 points in 11 matches.

The key for both of these teams is going to be separating itself from the pack. Three points is always critical in a league in which there are only a grand total of nine points separating a shot at promotion and certain relegation.

We’ll begin with Deportivo, a team that really has to be considered a shock to be down at this level. The team hasn’t played all that well on the road this year, getting shut out twice and taking a questionable 2-0-3 record thus far in five fixtures.

The team has been all over the place scoring goals, accounting for 18 in 11 matches (five more than the table toppers, Hercules in 12 matches). The problem is with one goal surrendered in this one, Deportivo will have the same number of goals allowed as CD Alcoyano, a team which is on the verge of relegation.

When Oscar Sanchez is on his game, Murcia has a side which has a shot at promotion. He has five goals already this season, easily tops on the team, and he has dreams of leading this team back to the top flight. The only bad news for Murcia is that it has taken a defender to do the job of the strikers. Aside from Sanchez, who starts his games in the back four, the rest of the team only has 11 goals in 11 fixtures.

It should probably come as no surprise that these two teams are considered to be on rather level pegging by the oddsmakers, as they are both a pick ‘em, with the slight nod going to Murcia at -120.

The last time that these two faced off was in the Copa Del Rey in 2009. In the fourth round, La Coruna came away with a 1-0 victory right here at the Nueva Condomina.

Posted in Featured, La Liga (Spain)

Spanish Primera Tips: Athletic Bilbao vs. Osasuna Club Predictions

On Monday night in Espana, we make our La Liga picks and our Athletic Bilbao vs. Osasuna predictions in the Spanish Primera. These two teams are both going to be threatened by the relegation bug this year, and taking points from this match is key for both teams.

Bilbao qualified for the Europa League playoff this year, and they got the job done, getting in past Trabzonspor, a team which has had its own problems with UEFA. Thus far this year in Spain though, things have been tougher for this side. Domestic play has been disappointing to say the least.
Amongst the disappointing results were a 1-1 draw against Rayo Vallecano and a 1-0 loss at Malaga. The good news is that Atletico came up with a huge 2-1 road win at Real Sociedad on October 2nd, the most recent game.

The man of the hour is Fernando Llorente, who already has three strikes amongst the seven goals scored on the season. The bad news is that those seven goals are in six fixtures, a scoring average which simply won’t cut it. There aren’t many teams that have scored fewer goals than Bilbao this year, and if that doesn’t change, success in the Spanish Primera is going to be difficult.

Meanwhile, things for Osasuna haven’t been all that great this year either. The team has played to three straight draws since September 20th. Two of the three matches have come at home at the Reyno de Navarra. The other match was at Granada, the type of fixture that should be won more often than not.

What we have to remember when we look at the results for this team this year is that there is an 8-0 loss at Barcelona. Sure, there’s never really an excuse to get beaten 8-0 in a match, but knowing that it came against one of the best sides in the entire world is a bit more excusable.

Scoring goals has been real problem, though. Osasuna has scored three goals in its last two fixtures, but before that, the team only bagged one goal in four matches.

Last year, this was a fixture that was dominated Bilbao. The team won 1-0 at home and 2-1 on the road. The fixture at home was fantastic, knowing that Carlos Gurpegi was able to nail the late winner in stoppage time.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Bilbao is the odds on favorite in this match, as things really should be turning around for this side at some point. Still, at -120 on the three-way betting lines, it’s not a given that three points are going to end up on the side of the hosts even though Osasuna only has one victory all season long.

Posted in Featured, La Liga (Spain)

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