Fresh off a mid-week matchday and just before another week of Champions League group play matches, Matchday 07 in La Liga lacks contender-vs.-contender showdowns, but there’s still plenty to talk about in Spain.
Is Real Madrid an offensive juggernaut?
When’s the next game we should really expect Barcelona to win? And how much longer will Manager Ronald Koeman last?
Is Atleti capable of a comfortable victory?
A crucial, busy week ahead
We’d be remiss to preview this weekend without talking about what lies ahead for La Liga’s five Champions League clubs next week. With a short turnaround between Matchday 07 in LaLiga and Matchday 02 of UCL group play, it will be interesting to see how many starters play heavy minutes this weekend for Spain’s top sides. After Real Madrid was the only Spanish club to win on Matchday 1 of group play, the pressure is on next week, especially for the four clubs on the road. See the La Liga clubs’ upcoming UCL matches below:
- Real Madrid vs. Sheriff Tiraspol, Tuesday, 3 p.m.
- Atlético Madrid @ AC Milan, Tuesday, 3 p.m.
- Barcelona @ Benfica, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
- Villarreal @ Manchester United, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
- Sevilla @ Wolfsburg, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
LA LIGA MATCHDAY 07 PREVIEW
Let’s quickly answer the questions above – we’ll have more on each in the near future – yes, RM’s offense is (somehow) absolutely legit. Just don’t expect them to maintain this pace — they’ve scored 21 goals on just 12 xG through six matches, which does not strike me as sustainable.
Barcelona had better win this weekend, and they need to look motivated and organized in the process. If not, that could mean adios to Koeman, whose days appear numbered, regardless of what happens against Levante. Though they have a game in hand and they remain unbeaten in La Liga, their record of 2-3-0 against a manageable early schedule is uh … yeah, it kinda speaks for itself.
Atleti should roll against Alavés in what I expect to be the first blowout win of the year for Diego Simeone’s team – they’ve earned 14 of 18 possible points this year, but their goal differential is just +4.
- Alavés (+550) vs. Atlético Madrid (-185) Saturday, 8 a.m. Eastern
- Sevilla (-160) vs. Espanyol (+475) Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
- Real Madrid (-210) vs. Villarreal (+500) Saturday, 3 p.m.
- Barcelona (-240) vs. Levante (+600) Sunday, 10:15 a.m.
LA LIGA MATCHDAY 07 ODDS & ENDS
As we mentioned earlier, Atlético is yet to pull away from anyone this season, but that will change Saturday morning. Alavés is not only squarely in last place with 0 points through five matches, it’s getting routed game after game – they’ve scored once and allowed 11 goals this year. Yikes. It’s hard to be a lock for relegation after just five games, but these guys look like they’ll run away with last place, if that’s a thing. As for this weekend, Atleti -1.5 (+165) seems like a slam-dunk. Despite what we’ve seen from Los Rojiblancos this season, I’d even think about taking them at -2.5 (+475).
Villarreal are probably better than their La Liga record of 1-4-0 through five games, as they have played well against Atleti and Atalanta (UCL), earning draws against both those teams. So I expect them to keep this one close, but the bet I like best here is Both Teams To Score-Yes (-130).
It’s not just that Barcelona are coming off draws over the last week against two weak opponents in Granada and Cádiz. Somehow, they’ve looked worse than “1-1 against Granada” and “0-0 against Cádiz” sound. There (shockingly) just aren’t any scoring opportunities with a forward line of Memphis Depay, Luuk de Jong and Yusuf Demir, and the energy around this club couldn’t be worse right now.
The club’s xG for the Granada match on Monday was 1.88, and they somehow managed just .36 xG (on just two shots on target) against 14th-place Cádiz on Thursday. So my suggestions for the Levante match on Sunday are Levante Draw No Bet (+450) and Levante +1.5 (-140). I’d feel even better about Levante, but Barcelona might have both Pedri and Ansu Fati back, which would (hopefully) provide a massive boost and give them a great shot to break out of this awful rut in a huge way.