La Liga Week 22
Sunday 3rd February 2013
Valencia vs. Barcelona
This weekend, La Liga has the champions elect, who are now 1/100 with William Hill to lift the title this year in Spain, visiting seventh placed Valencia at the Estadio Mestalla. The hosts may only be six places behind Barca but Los Che are a massive 25 points adrift of the Catalan powerhouse. However, they are just a point off of the European places and two from the all important fourth spot, and as they are still in the Champions League and have a round of 16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain to negotiate in a couple of weeks, they will be wanting to try and get themselves up to fourth place again to be involved in that competition again next season.
You can follow all our Champions League Free Picks and Predictions right here at SBRForum.com when the competition kicks off again February 12th 2013.
Centre-back Victor Ruiz has promised in the press this week that Valencia will face Barcelona on Sunday evening without fear and going for the win and are intent on picking up all three points. The former Espanyol and Napoli man has recently been tried out in defensive midfield to good efffect by new boss Ernesto Valverde and was in defiant mood when asked about the game and if you look at Valencia's recent record you may understand why the 6/1 they are quoted with bet365 may just be worth having a punt on.
Between the 15th and the 23rd January Valencia played three matches but in a rather strange anomilie, all of them were against Real Madrid. Two Copa del Rey quarter-final ties with a home league game sandwiched in between and it is fair to say they didn't do so well, losing the two leg cup tie 3-1 on aggregate and being thumped 5-0 in the league where familiarity most certainly did breed contempt with the giants from the capital. But take those three games away and Valencia's recent record tells a whole different story.
They won last time out 3-2 in La Coruna after those three Madrid games and prior to them won seven of eight games, three in a row then four in a row respectively and netted 17 times conceding just seven. Their one defeat was in the middle of that fine run. The only other team that can boast that kind of form is their opponents this weekend Barcelona, who lost their first league game of the season in Sociedad 11 days ago but still boast a record of 19 wins and one draw in their 21 La Liga games so far. Hence they are 4/9 to make it 20 wins in this one.
Whilst it is tough to purchase a football betting ticket against Barca pretty much ever, it seems they may be feeling the heat a little and the fatigue too, having just drawn their Copa del Rey semi-final 1st leg with Real Madrid 1-1 last night, in a pulsating and breathless affair in which Madrid more than held their own. So, Valencia have something to aim for and certainly when playing Barca, motivation should never be a problem as all teams and players want to judge themselves against the best. The have also not had to play mid-week, so should be well rested and up for it as I say!
Talking of the Copa del Rey it is a little-known fact that American singer Lana del Rey - of 'Video Games' fame - named herself after the Copa del Rey after being entranced by Valencia's 3-1 win over Getafe in 2008. So, you know where her money will be in this one!
We all know Barca have world class players in every position and in Lionel Messi, the four times Balon D'Or winner, a world beater if ever there was one. Messi has already scored 49 goals for club and country this season and is just one behind equalling Alfredo di Stefano's all-time Clasico record of 18, though he didn't manage to do so last night in Madrid. He is by no means their only source of goals though, they have scored 71 goals this season to Valencia's 30 with 14 different players finding the net.
In what is a veritable slump, nay crisis for them though, they have lost one and draw two of their last six in all competitions and with the Champions League restarting in two weeks fixture congestion could yet play some part in their season and the bid for the treble. That and the new found form of Real Madrid and continuing challenge of Atletico too, both of whom they still have to play in La Liga yet.
Roberto Soldado is Valencia's main goal threat and has 11 this season but like Barca they have shared the goals around with nine different players scoring this term so far with Jonas and Nelson Haedo Valdez netting four a piece. In the corresponding fixture at Camp Nou back in September Barca won by a solitary Adriano strike though as usual dominated possession.
So to find the best value in this game I think we need to look at the Total Score on the betting odds page, available free with SBRForum, and at the likely final score outcome too. Barca have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last six matches but have outscored their opponents 17 goals to 10, and Valencia have failed to score just twice in their last ten, both times against Real Madrid, so I think it is clear there will be goals come Sunday. The score draw is at 10/3 with bet365 and I am leaning towards that result and 2-2 at 14/1 with William Hill as a correct score prediction. That also puts me in the over 2.5 arena at 2/5 but with goals sure to flow in this one I much prefer the over 3.5 at 23/20, both with William Hill.
As for goal scorer's, Roberto Soldado to score and Valencia to win is at 12/1 and Andres Iniesta to score and Barcelona to win is 5/1. Lionel Mess is 1/6 to score anytime and 4/5 to net two or more, just to underline the form he is in right now. There are no odds available on whether anyone can actually get the ball off of either Iniesta or Messi but if there were it would be a sound bet!
I do think Barca are a little jaded, by their standards at least, and if Valencia come out and go for it as they are saying they plan to do10/3 then there will, as I have said, be goals in this one and I am leaning towards the hosts taking at least a point here which just may have Barca looking over their shulders just a touch in the coming weeks.
Free Football Betting Tips: Score draw for me at 10/3 a correct score prediction of 2-2 at 14/1 and the over 3.5 at 23/20 all with William Hill.