Copa del Rey: Villarreal are deadlock-breaking experts

These clubs are edging closer to the Copa del Rey trophy
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Michael Lintorn trusts Lionel Messi, Villarreal and Malaga to shine in their Copa del Rey quarter-final second legs...

"Villarreal have scored the opening goal for 18 fixtures in a row."
Recommended Bet: Back Villarreal to score the first goal against Getafe @ 1.728/11


Atletico Madrid v Barcelona
Wednesday, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports 5

Match Odds: Atletico Madrid 3.7511/4, Barcelona 2.1411/10, The Draw 3.65

Barcelona had been the most lauded team on the planet, but the combination of on-field chaos and off-field murkiness has made it difficult to praise them this season. That changed this month because their response to the hysteria which followed their loss to Real Sociedad on January 4 has been near faultless.

Six successive victories have been achieved with 23 goals scored and just one conceded, a penalty. Lionel Messi, having been at the centre of the drama following his overreaction to being a substitute in San Sebastian, has stepped up as much as anyone. The Argentine has fired in all five appearances since, two of which were against Atletico Madrid, scoring eight in total in that period.

Recommended Bet: Back Messi to score @ 2.68/5


Getafe v Villarreal
Thursday, 19:00
Live on Sky Sports 5

Match Odds: Getafe 4.3100/30, Villarreal 1.9620/21, The Draw 3.7511/4

Villarreal's performance this term hasn't been given the appropriate credit because they are sixth in La Liga. However, they are only three points off fourth, are in the Europa League knockout phase, on the brink of the Copa del Rey semi-finals - leading this tie 1-0 - and are unbeaten in 17 games.

The Yellow Submarine have kept nine clean sheets in 12 too, which has helped them towards arguably their most impressive achievement of all: they have scored the opening goal for 18 fixtures in a row. Getafe gave up the opener in their last three outings, so expect this streak to be extended.

Recommended Bet: Back Villarreal to score the first goal @ 1.728/11


Athletic Bilbao v Malaga
Thursday, 21:00
Live on Sky Sports 5

Match Odds: Athletic Bilbao 2.0811/10, Malaga 4.216/5, The Draw 3.3512/5

Athletic Bilbao have been forced to pay one hell of a penalty for being permitted one exceptional campaign in which they achieved Champions League qualification, and it seems to be getting worse.

The Basque club are winless in five matches, have lost five in eight and have lost three of their most recent four encounters at the new San Mames, drawing the other.

Their last two games were both against Malaga and they failed to win either, so an opportunity to lay them at 2.111/10 is very appealing. The visitors have lost just three times in 12 fixtures, or five times in 19 if you prefer a bigger sample size.

Recommended Bet: Lay Athletic Bilbao to win @ 2.111/10

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