Previewing La Liga Matchday 12: (NEWS FLASH!) Lionel Messi is the Best Player in the World

Posted By Tyler Everett on October 31, 2019 - Last Updated on February 21, 2020

Who: Sevilla vs Atlético Madrid
When: Saturday, November 2nd @ 1:30pm ET
LineSevilla +138| Draw +215 | Atletico Madrid +215

This week is the first of two busy ones in a row in Spain. Domestically, the turnaround between matchdays 11 and 12 in La Liga is a short one, as matchday 11 will not wrap up until after Getafe-Granada today, which kicks off at 4:15 p.m. Eastern. On Saturday, Matchday 12 will kick off at 8 a.m. Eastern with Espanyol-Valencia.

And next Tuesday and Wednesday, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Valencia will be in action in the Champions League.

Matchday 11 was not a total dud, but it was not exactly the best of the season, either. Valencia managed a much-needed – if they hope to finish top-four again – draw vs. Sevilla, which had won three of four. Elsewhere in Spain, Atleti settled for another disappointing 1-1 draw thanks to a must-see goal in the 83rd minute by AlavésLucas Pérez.

And Barcelona and Real Madrid both cruised, over Valladolid and Leganés, respectively.

Sevilla vs. Atlético Madrid Preview

The best game this weekend will be Sevilla’s (+132) home clash vs. Atlético Madrid (+215) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern. A draw in that game is priced at +225, which is not a bad idea considering who’s involved. Atleti has settled for one point in four of its last five games, and on the road against a good opponent, 0-0 seems distinctly likely for Diego Simeone’s club.

At the risk of getting ahead of ourselves, a win here would be huge for Sevilla, which has a good chance to finish third if Atleti and Real Madrid cannot get on track.

While we’re talking Los Rojiblancos, when’s the last time they impressed? The answer would be each of their Champions League group stage games so far, but still. It’s been a rough month for a team so many were so high on during the summer and opening weeks of the season. They remain in good shape in Europe, but the fact these guys have 20 points through 11 games – and have failed to beat the likes of Valladolid, Valencia and Alavés in recent weeks — is both puzzling and disappointing.

Another reminder of who is the best player in the world

This week was about Lionel Messi. The Argentine shouldn’t be able to surprise us at this point. Yet there he was Tuesday against Valladolid, with two goals and two assists. In his best performance of the season, it was impossible to pick which of his moments of brilliance was most impressive. He delivered another free kick that only he can make and both assists were unreal. He also nutmegged a hapless Vallaodolid defender more than once.

After injuries limited him the first several weeks of the season, he’s been on a rampage since his first 90-minute performance of the season on October 2 vs. Inter Milan in the Champions League. He’s scored in each of his last four games, with a total of five goals and three assists in that stretch. In case those numbers don’t quite get the point across, his WhoScored rating was 9.44 vs. Inter (10/2), 10 vs. Sevilla (10/6), 8.65 vs. Eibar (10/19), 9.7 vs. Slavia Prague (10/23) and 10 vs. Valladolid (10/29).

Expect more Barcelona blowouts

Messi’s impact on his team, even though we’ve seen this over and over again, has been staggering. Barcelona had two losses and two draws early this season, before Messi was healthy. Dating back to his first start of the year on September 24 vs. Villarreal, this team has won its last seven – including two UCL games — by a combined score of 20-4. Even for Messi and Barcelona, that is ridiculous.

The bad news is that there won’t be any semblance of a race for first place in La Liga. The good news is that we’re going to get a ton of highlights from a player who somehow looks better than ever at the age of 32. Barcelona (-278) should win comfortably again Saturday at 11 a.m. at Levante (+600).

Can Real Madrid make it two easy wins in a row?

I’m pretty sure I’ve been wrong about Real Madrid (-345) every time I’ve written about them this season. We’ll see if this weekend is any different when they host Real Betis (+775) on Saturday at 4 p.m. Los Blancos’ dominant performances have been few and far between this season, but the line tells me they’re winning by multiple goals again this weekend. Their 5-0 win over last-place Leganés on Wednesday shouldn’t have turned too many heads, but Madridistas had to love seeing goals from young players Rodrygo and especially Luka Jovic, whose RM tenure is off to a tough start.

Let’s see if Jovic’s first goal of the year gets the Serbian going.

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