La Liga Matchday 08 Preview: (Still) Reeling Barcelona Visits Atlético Madrid

Written By Tyler Everett on October 1, 2021

Somehow, La Liga clubs fared worse on the second matchday of Champions League group play than they did on matchday 1. Just one of Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Villarreal won this week: Atleti pulled out yet another last-second victory, this time at AC Milan’s expense. Through two matchdays of group play, La Liga clubs are a combined 2-4-4 in UCL play, and no one looks like a total lock to reach knockout play.

The good news for La Liga clubs (if there is any) is that after Matchday 8 ends on Sunday, October 3, they won’t have to play again until Saturday, October 16, as club play will pause for World Cup qualifiers.

La Liga Matchday 08 Preview

The other good news, at least for fans of Spanish soccer, is that Matchday 08 features the first meeting of the season between “top contenders” – if you can still call Barcelona and Atleti that. On Saturday, Atleti hosts a Barcelona side fresh off another embarrassing showing. Despite neither team living up to expectations so far this season, it’s a must-see match-up, even if it promises to be ugly.

Spain’s other teams at the top of the table all have to go on the road this weekend, but are heavy favorites. That includes second-place Real Sociedad, who have captured 16 of 21 possible points so far this year and have not lost since falling to Barcelona on Matchday 01 back in mid-August.

  • Atlético Madrid (-110) vs. Barcelona (+310) Saturday, 3 p.m. Eastern
  • Espanyol (+425) vs. Real Madrid (-155) Sunday, 10:15 a.m.
  • Getafe (+260) vs. Real Sociedad (+125) Sunday, 12:30 p.m.
  • Granada (+390) vs. Sevilla (-125) Sunday, 3 p.m.

La Liga Matchday 08 Odds & Ends

Atleti-Barcelona

In three of Barcelona’s last four games (they did play well in a 3-0 win over Levante last weekend), the Catalans have looked about as bad as a club — especially a supposedly good one — can look in ugly draws to Granada and Cádiz, followed by Wednesday’s meltdown against Benfica. Given Barcelona hasn’t played well against a decent opponent since their season opener against Real Sociedad, there’s no way I’m picking them here.

Atleti, however, was way too dependent on late offensive breakthroughs as of a few weeks ago. And Los Rojiblancos have continued to rely on last-minute goals since, against both Getafe (September 21) and AC Milan (September 28). Both those teams were down to 10 men, I should add. So yeah, who knows what to expect here. But Atleti at home, playing in front of a full crowd for the first time in an eternity, feels like a safe bet to keep it low-scoring, if nothing else. So I recommend Under 2.5 Total Goals (-120), and Both Teams To Score-No (-120) also feels like a good idea.

Espanyol-Real Madrid

Real Madrid is coming off a woeful loss to Sheriff Tiraspol in the Champions League, but I expect them to bounce back here. The fact RM is set for a week or two of rest after this weekend (though several of its players will be busy with qualifiers during the upcoming “break”) will help them immensely. Real Madrid (-155) – I think they’ll find a way – won’t yield a big payout, but that feels like the best bet for this game.

Getafe-Real Sociedad

A week ago, I picked Atleti to win big over Alavés, which entered that match looking like easily the worst team in La Liga. That didn’t go so well, as the underdogs scored early and held on for a 1-0 win. But I’m going to use similar logic this week and take Real Sociedad (+125). Real Sociedad has dealt with a number of injuries, but Getafe has 0 points through seven matches on 2 goals for and 12 allowed (both those numbers are tied for the worst in the league). So yeah, say it with me: Real Sociedad (+125).

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