La Liga Lowdown: High Scoring Top Of The Table Clash
Savage gives us his thoughts on the best of the action from last weekend’s matches in Spain's Primera División and looks forward to a massive top of the table clash at the Bernabéu
Athletic Bilbao (8) v Granada (17)
San Mamés, Fri 26 Nov 2021 20:00 (Ireland/UK), 21:00 (Spain)
Bilbao should consider themselves fortunate to be just 2 places away from European football given that they have registered just 4 wins. They are not short of talent with the likes of Inaki Williams and Iker Muniain well capable of troubling defences. However, goals really have been at a premium for the Basque club. Their last game against Levante should have been a straightforward 3 points but instead they played out an insipid 0-0 draw. Granada are currently not in the relegation places by virtue of goal difference alone. Amazingly they have scored one more than Athletic. However, they have conceded an extra 12 and that is why there is such a disparity in their positions. Williams should be able to threaten against this Granada defence who were nowhere to be seen last time out against Madrid.
This opening fixture of match day 15 will feature on this week’s SRD Friday night BetAlong live stream SRD YouTube Channel. It will be the first appearance of our La Liga expert Savage on the show. Tune in from 7:30 GMT.
Villarreal (12) v Barcelona (7)
Estadio de la Cerámica, Sat 27 Nov 2021 20:00 (Ireland/UK), 21:00 (Spain)
El Submarino Amarillo are currently languishing in 12th and are paying a heavy price for too many draws (7 in 13 games). That being said, they sit just four points behind their visitors who are undergoing the most high profile decline in world football (Manchester United notwithstanding). One of Xavi’s first tasks as manager will be to get Blaugrana their first win on the road (D3 L2). In his two matches in charge he has shown a penchant for trusting those players of a youthful persuasion. However, what he really needs is an experienced centre-forward who is going to consistently score goals. Memphis Depay is their only serious threat but has managed just 4 goals from open play. This could be a low scoring affair as Villarreal have not performed well against teams above them and Barca do not have any sort of away form.
Real Madrid (1) v Sevilla (3)
Santiago Bernabéu, Sun 28 Nov 2021 20:00 (Ireland/UK), 21:00 (Spain)
Sevilla have largely gone unnoticed in recent weeks as the two Reals have been tussling for top spot. That being said, Lopetegui’s side have an impressive record (W8 D4 L1) going into this heavyweight clash with Madrid. Their only loss came rather surprisingly in a 1-0 defeat away to Granada. Real are they only side that can boast a better goals scored and goal difference than their visitors. They are yet to lose at the Bernabéu this season but they have drawn twice their already. Sevilla’s away form is the only thing keeping them off the top spot as their performances at the home have been almost faultless. If they do not get to grips with the Los Blancos midfield triumvirate then you can expect goals for the home side. Marco Asensio looks to be really enjoying his football under Ancelloti and is starting to produce as a result.
Round 14 Review
Best Game of the Weekend – Granada 1-4 Real Madrid
Los Blancos showed no sign of rustiness after the international break as they produced a ruthless attacking display against their abject hosts. Toni Kroos provided the first of his two assists as he laid the ball on for Marco Asensio to open the scoring. The Spaniard ran unimpeded into the heart of the Granada box before coolly slotting past Luis Maximiano. A neatly worked corner routine between Modric and Kroos allowed the German to tee up Nacho Fernández to turn the ball home for their second. The only blot on Madrid’s copybook was as a result of a wicked deflection off Nacho from Luis Suárez’s speculative long range effort. Courtois could do nothing about it as he was left wrong-footed by the change in direction.
Casemiro keeps Real cruising
It was difficult to discern which of Madrid’s midfield trio was the best on the night, such was the exceptional performances by each of them. Although he wasn’t credited with an assist, it was Casemiro’s vision and first time ball that set Benzema clean though for Real’s third (see Goal of the Weekend). That goal would put the game beyond the home sides reach but the visitors weren’t finished yet and neither was Casemiro. For Madrid’s fourth the Brazilian played the kind of defence-splitting through ball that just begged to be put into the back of the net. Ferland Mendy, who had timed his run to perfection, did just that as he slid the ball home to put the icing on the cake. The only surprising thing about this match was that the Frenchman on the scoresheet wasn’t called Karim.
Best Goal of the Weekend – Vinicius Jr v Granada
There are sublime counter-attacking goals and then there is this goal from Vinicius Jr. This exquisite footballing masterpiece consisted of 7 passes, 5 players and took just 19 seconds to cover the length of the field. Dani Carvajal won the ball back in his own box and played it to Casemiro who found Benzema on the edge of the centre circle. The Frenchman immediately returned the ball before arcing his run down the right-hand touchline. Casemiro needed no invitation to put an exceptionally weighted pass into the path of his captain. Benzema sprinted into the heart of the Granada box before holding the ball up while awaiting the arrival of Modric. The Croatian could easily have finished the move himself but he unselfishly squared the ball to Vincinius Jr who just had to apply the simplest of finishes. Just watch this goal and then watch or repeat forever.
And the rest…
Alavés (14) v Celta Vigo (15), Sat 27 Nov 2021 13:00 (Ireland/UK), 14:00 (Spain)
Valencia (10) v Rayo Vallecano (6), Sat 27 Nov 2021 15:15 (Ireland/UK), 16:15 (Spain)
Mallorca (13) v Getafe (19), Sat 27 Nov 2021 17:30 (Ireland/UK), 18:30 (Spain)
Real Betis (5) v Levante (20), Sun 28 Nov 2021 13:00 (Ireland/UK), 14:00 (Spain)
Espanyol (11) v Real Sociedad (2), Sun 28 Nov 2021 15:15 (Ireland/UK), 16:15 (Spain)
Cádiz (16) v Atlético Madrid (4), Sun 28 Nov 2021 17:30 (Ireland/UK), 18:30 (Spain)
Osasuna (9) v Elche (18), Mon 29 Nov 2021 20:00 (Ireland/UK), 21:00 (Spain)
Athletic Bilbao to Win & 1.5 Goals @ 4/5
Villarreal v Barcelona – Under 2.5 Goals @ Evens
Real Madrid to Win and 2.5 Goals @ 5/2
The above in a treble at 8/1