Jack Lang previews the weekend's Spanish games, all of which are available on Betfair Live Video...
"Getafe have only conceded three first-half goals in their last nine games, while Barcelona – perhaps due to a bit of weariness – continue to do much of their best work late on in matches"
Real Madrid v Real Sociedad
Live on Sky Sports Football and Betfair Live Video
Any neutrals looking for a match to watch this weekend should make a beeline to the Bernabéu - or their local TV sets - for this royal rumble, which pits Zinedine Zidane's underachievers against... well, Eusebio Sacristán's underachievers.
Real Madrid disappointed again last weekend, twice throwing away a lead against struggling Levante. "We are disgusted with the result and the performance of the team," said an unusually annoyed Zidane. "The game was under control but we didn't know how to score. Then there are two errors we make in the two goals."
One dreads to think what Paris Saint-Germain will make of the Madrid backline on Wednesday night, but first up comes this Liga date with Real Sociedad, who, like Basque neighbours Athletic Club, would probably be fearful of being dragged into the relegation battle if there weren't quite so many no-hopers at the bottom of the table.
La Real should have their tails up after a 5-0 success over Deportivo La Coruña last week, but the 11 games before that yielded just one win and there's a fragility to this side that won't have disappeared overnight. Depor are a poor side who made it easy, and Madrid, for all their struggles, represent a far greater challenge.
Goals are expected here: the goals-per-match averages of these two sides are among the highest in the division (Madrid 3.14; La Real 3.68) and both will view attack as the best form of defence. Over 2.5 goals is a measly [1.25], however, so instead take a chance on both teams scoring in both halves.
Both teams to score in both halves at 5/1
Barcelona v Getafe
Live on Sky Sports Mix and Betfair Live Video
They rode their luck at times, but Barcelona saw off Valencia in midweek to book their spot in the final of the Copa del Rey. After a mixed first half, it was substitute Philippe Coutinho who settled the nerves, sliding in for his first goal in the Blaugrana jersey to give his side a cushion. Ivan Rakitić's cool late finish made the result safe, meaning Barça are still very much on course to win the treble.
There was a minor wobble in the league a week ago, Espanyol frustrating them again in the derby, but it's hard to imagine that it will matter in the final reckoning: the lead over Atlético Madrid is still a healthy eight points, with Los Colchoneros still due at the Camp Nou next month. The remainder of the Liga season is as much about managing momentum and fitness as it is about securing a gigantic points total.
Sunday's game against Getafe does not look like a banana skin: Los Azulones are having a fine season and are unbeaten in four, but have only won one away game all season. True, they managed to poach a point at Sevilla a couple of weeks back, but it's unlikely their concussive approach will get them very far against one of Europe's form teams.
They may, however, keep things tight early on: they've only conceded three first-half goals in their last nine games, while Barcelona - perhaps due to a bit of weariness - continue to do much of their best work late on in matches. Five of Barça's last seven games have been goalless at the break, so a price of 4/1 on that happening again is worth taking on.
0-0 half-time score at 4/1
Celta Vigo v Espanyol
Live on Sky Sports Mix and Betfair Live Video
Celta Vigo have done more than their fair share of travelling in recent weeks, playing just one of their last five games (all competitions) at Balaídos. So they will be delighted to return to home comforts on Sunday evening and look a good bet to celebrate the occasion with a win over Espanyol.
Celta were stunned by Alavés last weekend but have been on an upward trajectory generally: wins over Levante, Real Sociedad and Real Betis have put them in the conversation for the European places and they now have an mouth-watering sequence of fixtures in which to state their claim more forcefully.
The inspiration behind their recent form has been - no prizes for guessing this one - Iago Aspas. The former Liverpool man is in a rich vein of form, with four goals in four games taking his season's tally to 15. He's now closing in on his best ever Liga haul (19) and clearly has an eye on Spain's World Cup squad.
Espanyol showed their grit against Barcelona but have been poor on the road (W1 D4 L5) and are without the suspended Estaban Granero. They will struggle here and Aspas, who has notched in four of his last six games against Los Periquitos, looks a good bet to lead the charge for Celta.
Back Iago Aspas to score at 6/4
Jack Lang's La Liga P/L, 2017/18
0-0 half-time score in Barcelona v Getafe at 4/1 (Sportsbook)
Back Iago Aspas to score in Celta v Espanyol at 6/4 (Sportsbook)