La Liga Betting: Barcelona on course for derby victory over Espanyol

Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi of Barcelona
Barcelona will be aiming for derby victory this weekend
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Jack Lang previews the weekend's Spanish games, all of which are available on Betfair Live Video...

"Barcelona's recent record in the derby is impressive: they've won 15 and lost none of the last 19 meetings with Espanyol, keeping 15 clean sheets in that spell"

Expect another home win at the Coliseum

Getafe v Leganés
Saturday, 12:00
Live on Eleven Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video

Getafe, just in case you've been living under a rock, are fourth in La Liga. They will be the story of the season even if they eventually miss out on a Champions League place; if they do manage to cling on, you can extend that to 'decade' without much exaggeration. José Bordalás is performing miracles, and his players, from dynamic defender Djené Dakonam to cult strikers Jaime Mata and Jorge Molina, are matching him every step of the way.

Los Azulones have won nine of their last 10 home games (all competitions), with only Barcelona denying them. That would make them a good option at 1.991/1 against most teams, but that price looks hugely generous given that it's Leganés pitching up to the Coliseum on Saturday lunchtime.

Broadly speaking, Mauricio Pellegrino's men are on an upward trajectory: they pulled away from the relegation picture courtesy of a decent run before Christmas and should be safe enough. But they've only won one of their last five, and are without two key players here, with defender Kenneth Omeruo and top scorer Youssef En-Nesyri both sidelined. Leganés are unlikely to be outclassed, but with Getafe in such fine form, we do expect them to go home empty-handed.

More derby joy for Barça

Barcelona v Espanyol
Saturday, 15:15
Live on Betfair Live Video

Barcelona signed off in majestic style before the international break, trouncing Real Betis 4-1. You'll likely have seen the goals by now, as well as the videos of the Betis fans giving Lionel Messi a standing ovation - something of a novelty even in a career as stupidly successful as his.

Thoughts will soon turn to the Champions League tie against Manchester United, but there's a busy week to get through first. The game against Espanyol is followed by a midweek game against Villarreal and a trip to Atlético Madrid next Saturday. That would look like a big game if Barça's lead at the summit of La Liga wasn't 10 points (effectively 11 due to goal difference), but the chances of anyone catching them now are minimal.

Their recent record in this derby is impressive: they've won 15 and lost none of the last 19 meetings with Espanyol, keeping 15 clean sheets in that spell. And there's a very good chance they'll pick up another victory on Saturday, with Los Periquitos struggling for form (just three wins in 17 league games) and fitness (Facundo Ferreyra is the latest player to join the injury list).

Barcelona's progress could be slowed by personnel issues of their own. Ousmane Dembélé is definitely out, and there are slight concerns over Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez: the former picked up a minor groin strain on international duty and the Uruguayan has an ankle knock. But both have rested this week and look more likely to start than not. If they do, this should be a commanding home win.

Madrid back in the groove

Real Madrid v Huesca
Sunday, 19:45
Live on ITV4, Eleven Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video

It will take Zinedine Zidane a little while to get Real Madrid back to where they deserve to be: there will be changes to the squad this summer, with big decisions due over a few significant players. But his return already appears to have lightened the mood at the Bernabéu, which was surely part of the thinking when the club picked him to replace Santiago Solari.

His opening win, against Celta Vigo, was hardly spectacular. But there was a show of authority from the Frenchman, who restored Keylor Navas to the side in goal and brought Isco back from limbo. He was vindicated on both fronts: Navas made some fine saves and kept a clean sheet, while Isco scored only his second league goal of the season. Gareth Bale also played 90 minutes for only the fourth time in La Liga, and paid his coach back with a goal of his own.

Another win will be expected on Sunday night, when Huesca pitch up in the capital. The minnows still have a chance of beating the drop, and have improved since the turn of the year, but they have found the going tough against the big boys - especially away from home. Barcelona stuck eight past them in September, and Atlético Madrid (3-0) and Athletic Club (4-0 in the cup) have also made light work of them.

Huesca coach Francisco will be looking at the fixtures after this one - Celta in midweek, Levante next weekend - as major opportunities to pick up points, and so may even be tempted to rest a player or two here. With the feelgood factor returning to Madrid, this should be a comfortable win.

Jack Lang's La Liga P/L, 2018/19

Staked: 84pts
Returned: 84.47pts
P/L: +0.47pts

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