La Liga Matchday 10 Preview: El Clásico, Plus Atleti-Real Sociedad

Written By Tyler Everett on October 22, 2021

After a solid week for Spain’s five Champions League teams, La Liga Matchday 10 promises to be best of the young season, and not just because of El Clásico. We’ll get to that matchup, as well as Atlético Madrid-Real Sociedad, shortly. But first, a bit of love for La Liga’s 3-1-1 showing in the Champions League this week.

It started on Tuesday, when Atleti pushed Liverpool until – and even after — Antoine Griezmann was (rightfully) sent off in the 52nd minute for, you know, kicking Roberto Firmino in the head. Though Griezmann’s high boot certainly looked inadvertent, it was certainly a red card. Atleti came away with the L, but impressed, especially in the first half, and still looks like the best bet to advance from that group alongside Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid blew out Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0. It doesn’t get much better than that.

On Wednesday, Barcelona won ugly, but got the three points they so desperately needed. While Sevilla settled for a disappointing 0-0 draw against Lille, Villarreal blew out Young Boys 4-1. Collectively, La Liga showed out in European play for the first time this season, and four of five Spanish sides are in second place in their group.

La Liga Matchday 10 Preview

Turning the page to Matchday 10, we’d have a good slate even if there was nothing to look forward to besides Barcelona-Real Madrid. Fortunately, that’s not the case at all. Atleti-Real Sociedad is actually the matchup of the better teams, based on the table. While I have nothing to say about Sevilla-Levante, there’s plenty of intrigue in the other two games listed below.

  • Sevilla (-225) vs. Levante (+650) Sunday, 8 a.m. Eastern
  • Barcelona (+175) vs. Real Madrid (+150) Sunday, 10:15 a.m.
  • Atlético Madrid (-150) vs. Real Sociedad (+450) Sunday, 3 p.m.

La Liga Matchday 10 Odds & Ends

Barcelona-Real Madrid

With back-to-back wins over Valencia and Dynamo Kiev by a combined score of 4-1, Barcelona has turned the corner, right?? Umm, not quite. While those wins were much-needed, especially the Champions League victory, Barcelona has a lot of questions in this one.

For me, it starts in the midfield, where the likely starters will be Gavi, Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong, as Pedri was ruled out early in the week. Against Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric, it wouldn’t surprise me if Gavi (too young?) and Busquets (too old?) look overmatched.

For Real Madrid, Vinicius got two goals against Shakhtar this week — and most of the headlines – but the most important performance for Los Blancos came from left back Ferland Mendy. The Frenchman’s return allowed David Alaba to join Eder Militao at center back, and the back line looked as good as it has all season (yes, I realize Shakhtar is not exactly Bayern Munich, but still).

My advice here should be “stay away” – both teams have been impossible to predict this year – but that’s not an option. Karim Benzema anytime scorer (+115) feels like great value, and Ansu Fati anytime scorer (+170) also deserves a look.

Atlético Madrid-Real Sociedad

Atleti quietly has a massive game of its own against the team with the most points in Spain – none other than first-place Real Sociedad. While Atleti’s recent form – particularly the play of Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix against Liverpool – is encouraging, they’ve got a tougher matchup than oddsmakers would have you believe this weekend.

Real Sociedad has finished in sixth place and fifth place in La Liga the last two years, but they look even better early this season, and not for the reasons you’d expect. After playing below average defense in ’19-20 (48 goals allowed in 38 games) and improving to average in ’20-21 (38 goals allowed in 38 games), Real Sociedad surprisingly has played excellent D this season. Goalkeeper Álex Remiro has a staggering six (!!) clean sheets in eight starts this season. Who knows why no one is really talking about it.

Real Sociedad has allowed seven goals through nine games this year, but that includes four in the opener against Barcelona. They’ve conceded just three times in their last eight games, a level of stinginess that even Diego Simeone and Jan Oblak have to appreciate.

I like Real Sociedad, but instead of recommending them on the money line (God forbid I actually go out on a limb), my pick here is Real Sociedad Double Chance +130 (draw or win, the bet cashes). My other pick is Under 2.5 Total Goals (-155).


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