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La Liga Betting: Espanyol no pushovers at home to Atlético Madrid

Quique Sánchez Flores has a fine record against Atlético Madrid
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It's Clásico weekend in Spain, but there's plenty to play for away from the Bernabéu as well, writes Jack Lang...

"The Catalans have claimed 25 points from their last ten games at Cornellà-El Prat and coach coach Quique Sánchez Flores has not been beaten by Atleti in seven La Liga games."

Sevilla v Granada
Friday, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports 3 and Betfair Live Video

The Tony Adams era at Granada got off to an inauspicious start last weekend, the Andalusians slumping to a 3-0 home defeat to what was basically a Celta Vigo away side. As has been the case so often this season, there was precious little fluency on display from what amounts to a side of strangers, many of whom are just passing through.

Adams was ridiculed for his training-ground dance moves before that match, but of far greater concern to fans will be his plan to give the squad "a kick up the arse" in the hope of a reaction. That kind of talk may win you friends at Sunday League level, but it struck many in Spain as outmoded and, frankly, fairly quaint.

Granada are seven points from safety and, given they have lost six of their last seven games, survival looks increasingly unlikely. They could be in for another tough time of it on Friday night, too, against a Sevilla side that will see this as a golden opportunity to kick on in their quest to seal a Champions League spot for next season.

The past few weeks have been a struggle for Jorge Sampaoli's side, who have looked jaded since defeat to Leicester last month. But the last couple of results suggest they could be turning a corner: the 4-2 win over Deportivo La Coruña was followed by a gritty goalless draw away to Valencia. They demonstrated a bit more defensive organisation in that latter game and we like their chances of stifling Granada, who have scored just three in seven.

Sevilla win to nil is available at [2.1], which is the same price as 'No' in the Both Teams to Score? market. The latter is the better pick because it would pay out in the unlikely event that Sevilla to draw another blank.

Recommended Bet
Back 'No' in Both Teams to Score? at [2.1]


Osasuna v Sporting Gijón
Saturday, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports 3 and Betfair Live Video

The other two members of the bottom three meet late on Saturday afternoon. With both desperate for points, there's a strong possibility that there will be goals on the menu.

The obituaries for Osasuna's top-flight stay began to circulate a few months ago, but a pair of wins against Alavés and Leganés have provided just a bit of solace. They are still well adrift and only a terminal optimist would give them any chance of pulling off a great escape, but at least Petar Vasiljević's men have given their fans something to cheer about on the home straight.

Sporting Gijón stand a far better chance of getting out of trouble and showed off their attacking chops in the 3-2 reversal to Real Madrid last time out. They have scored in 10 of their 16 away games in La Liga and that looks likely to continue at El Sádar, which is hardly a fortress. Osasuna have enough firepower to score themselves but have kept just two clean sheets all season, meaning this could be a slugging match.

Recommended Bet
Back both teams to score (2pts) at [1.7]


Espanyol v Atlético Madrid
Saturday, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports 3 and Betfair Live Video

It has been an up and down season for Atlético Madrid, who saw their title hopes seep away early in the campaign and have had to live with mounting speculation over the futures of Diego Simeone and Antoine Griezmann. But the feeling is that they are now coming into their own, seven clean sheets in ten suggesting that the old, attritional Atleti were merely hibernating in preparation for the business end of the season.

There's no doubting their class, but it's worth noting that much of Atlético's best work this term has been done at the Calderón. Los Colchoneros have won just seven of 16 league games away from home, putting the lesser lights of the division to the sword but frequently making hard work of matches against more competent sides in midtable. Take away their matches against the bottom three and it's four wins from 13 - not a great record by any means.

Espanyol have been priced up as [5.8] long shots for this game, but there's reason to think they have been underestimated. Yes, the Parakeets were deeply inconsistent in the middle section of the season, but they have got their act together since January, putting together a solid sequence of results. On their day, when quality players like Pablo Piatti and Gerard Moreno click, they are a match for most sides in the division.

The Catalans have been especially convincing at home, with the last ten games at Cornellà-El Prat yielding 25 points. Add in the fact that coach Quique Sánchez Flores has never lost to Atleti in seven La Liga games, plus the possibility of some travel weariness affecting the away side, and you have a decent argument for siding with Espanyol.

Recommended Bet
Back Espanyol +0.5 at [2.25]

Jack Lang's La Liga P/L, 2016/17

Staked: 57pts
Returned: 47.52pts
P/L: -9.48pts

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