It has been quite a while since wheretowatch.com has brought you the chance to fill out your Quiniela and make some sweet, sweet dinero (provided you copy and paste my picks and you are actually gambling) and I’m happy to say we are back in business. Barcelona has had a great start to the season making it 15 points out of 15 under new head coach Tito Vilanova, leading Real Madrid by 8 points. Surprisingly, Málaga is in 4th place despite the loss of Santi Cazorla to Arsenal, who was sold in an effort to pay down some of the club’s debts. There is a lot to cover given the time we have missed so let’s get to it.
It is a ‘1’ for a home win, an ‘X’ for a draw and a ‘2’ for an away win.
1. Valladolid (13th) – Rayo Vallecano (8th): 2.
After suffering consecutive defeats to Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid, Rayo Vallecano faces a much easier battle this weekend. Rayo’s coach, Paco Jémez recently stated that Valladolid “has good players, but no big names” in contrast to the superstars playing for Atlético and Madrid. Nevertheless, Jémez is surely aware that his side has lost six consecutive points to Valladolid, but will have to hope that losing streak stops.
2. Espanyol (19th) – Atlético de Madrid (2nd): 2.
Atlético Madrid president Enrique Cerezo denied Wednesday’s trade rumors from London newspapers linking Colombian player Radamel Falcao to a $72.6 million Chelsea transfer. As with every in demand player, there comes a time when Chelsea will come a calling. Although Falcao is under contract ‘til 2015, Roman Abramovich’s petro dollars can sometimes erase difficulties like legally binding documents when he decides he wants a new player. Enjoy him while you can Atlético fans he may be gone in January.
3. Malaga (4th) – Betis (6th): 1.
After experiencing success with the arrival of Santi Cazorla this summer, Arsenal is reportedly eyeing up Málaga’s young midfield starlet Isco. Isco’s exodus would be a blow to a already thin team but skipper Manuel Pelligrini has done a great job so far this season and despite the distractions with Málaga’s financial situation and loss of key players has kept his team in the hunt in both La Liga and the Champions League. They should keep up the good work at home.
4. Real Sociedad (14th) – Athletic de Bilbao (16th): 1.
It is always difficult to determine the outcome of any derbi, and the Basque competition is no exception. After an awesome run in Europe last season Athletic is not quite where it was a year ago. I go with the home team in this situation.
5. Osasuna (20th) – Levante (9th): 1.
Osasuna has begun this season terribly, with only 1 point after 5 games. However, Levante has only been able to walk away from Osasuna’s home ground, Estadio El Sadar, one time in the Primera Liga. Last year, Levante came in riding a 10-game unbeaten streak, which Osasuna ended and begin a four game skid for the levantinistas. Osasuna plays their hearts out to get the home win and try to turn around their abysmal start.
6. Valencia (15th) – Zaragoza (12th): 1.
Coach Mauricio Pellegrino recently stated that los valencianistas need to “demonstrate that this team is alive” after a difficult start to the season. Fernando Gago will be returning to the midfield for Valencia after suffering an injury while playing for Argentina in early September. His return, plus Valencia’s need for points and a boost, equal a win for los che.
7. Getafe (17th) – Mallorca (3rd): 2.
If Mallorca wins this weekend it would be their best start to a season in their history. Mallorca’s defenseman, Antonio Lopez, noted the giddy atmosphere but warned that they must give “110 percent and not get caught up in the euphoria” surrounding their current position. Mallorca stays focused and gets the away win.
8. Granada (18th) – Celta de Vigo (11th): 1.
Who knows? Granada eliminated Celta from ascension to the Primera two years ago. Celta’s Iago Aspas states that Celta will be arriving in Granada not looking for revenge but I’m not so sure. Could be a testy match. I’m taking the home team in this one.
9. Sevilla (5th) – Barcelona (1st): 2.
Barcelona boss recently noted that “all the games are complicated but the truth is its worse at the Sanchez Pizjuan… I spent the worst 15 minutes of my life there.” A little melodramatic, but Sevilla is an extremely difficult place to win. Nevertheless, Barcelona keeps the pressure on Madrid this weekend.
10. Real Madrid (7th) – Deportivo de La Coruña (10th): 1.
After scoring a hat-trick in the Trofeo Bernabeu on Wednesday, Kaká is once again back in the mix for 1st team responsibilities according to coach Jose Mourinho. It is that type of depth in the Real Madrid team (that they can have a guy who was world player of the year what seems like just a few years ago on the bench) that makes them so formidable. (Here is Kaka’s acceptance speech, seems like a really decent guy). Real Madrid have had somewhat of a rocky start to the season but with may be turning the corner. Either way, Deportivo have a tough task to try to get a win at the Bernabeu.
By: Ryan Moore