Match Previews: La Liga (Week 12)

Updated: October 31, 2013

Barça’s evolving midfield has been doing great favors for the club. On the other hand, La Real struggles to bring back their glorious days.  


Barcelona vs. Espanyol Preview


Match Date: 1 November 2013 (local time)

Venue: Estadio Camp Nou


Team Form


A clean sheet against Celta Vigo gave Barcelona its 10th win this season. The club has been successful in keeping a strong hold of La Liga’s top spot as well as maintaining an undefeated track record. Currently it stands at W10-D1-L0 and looks forward to dominating the Catalan Derby.


Barça have no reasons to lose the match against Espanyol. An impressive win during the awaited El Clasico is a great source of inspiration and the midfield changes performed during the Celta Vigo encounter should add more strength to the defending champ.


The result of Gerardo Martino’s maneuver saw Sergio Busquet, Alex Song and Cesc Fabregas all lined up in the midfield. Although it means seeing Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez on the bench, it built a stronger defence—a more stable fortress, which prevented any scoring attempts from an aggressive attacker. As Martino stressed, with Fabregas and Lionel Messi working closely, it became easier to “initiate pressure.”


Defence is not the only thing that Martino’s approach addressed. More than anything else, it gave some of its key players the well-deserve rest, which they need. With fresh legs and an impenetrable defence wall, there is no question that Barça is more than ready to submerge into another of those Catalan face-off.


If there is anything that should worry Martino, these are their injury concerns. Adriano is doubtful if he can be seen in action at Camp Nou. He was suspected of a thigh injury, which he incurred during the Celta Vigo clash. Gerard Pique will be also missed in the pitch after suffering a hamstring. Similarly, a hamstring also hit Jordi Alba and he is less likely to participate in the upcoming derby.



Settling for a draw against Malaga may not be the best outcome for Espanyol. But this is definitely better than ending in a losing end after failing to capitalize on their Atletico Madrid shock. At the very least, the draw gave the club an extra point and landed them on the 8th spot of the La Liga table. Moreover, such performance handed them a  W4-D3-L4 record, which they will bring to the Barcelona encounter.


Kiko Casillas is aware of Barça’s pedigree. However, this does not scare Espanyol’s trusted goalkeeper. Casillas added that while he has high respects for their opponent, this does not mean that he is “scared” of them. And indeed, fearing Barça will only lead to more trouble as this could readily affect one’s performance on the pitch.


Between the two, it is RCD Espanyol, which needs the victory. Their next match will be against another equally aggressive  club, Sevilla and throwing the white towel against Barcelona means making one’s survival even more difficult. As for Barça’s side, losing can only do little harm. They will still dominate the league. Yet, this will lessen their lead against Atletico Madrid. But for Espanyol, this will determine their survival this season.


On the other hand, perhaps one of the best things that Espanyol currently enjoys, this is their players’ close to perfect physical condition. Reports of having an injured member do not exist as of the moment.


Football betting tip: Barcelona 2-1 Espanyol

Their last 6 derbies witnessed Barça take the upper hand. Espanyol has managed to get its little revenge. But it was no less than a draw—although it is less likely to happen in this match, this is their next best option.





Image Source: Sky Sports


Real Sociedad vs. Osasuna Preview


Match Date: 02 November 2013 (local time)

Venue: Estadio Anoeta


Team Form

Real Sociedad

Jagoba Arrasate’s  goal of clinching 3 straight wins has its merits. After the encounter against Osasuna, La Real is back to its Champions League duties where they have to face Manchester United.  A match against Real Madrid will immediately follow the said face-off.


The burden and the stress of the upcoming encounters explain the importance of clinching a victory against Osasuna. It is all about ensuring their survival. La Real has an impressive resume. There is no question about that. Their participation in the Champions League speaks well of their exemplary performance last season. Yet, that was last season. Currently, frustrations and disappointments characterize the club’s W5-D5-L3 performance. And the draw against Malaga added a dose of bitterness.


It was a game of two halves and unfortunately, Malaga had the last laugh. Such scenario manifested Real Sociedad’s seemingly inconsistent performance on the pitch, which extends to their overall work. A loss, a draw, a loss, 2 straight wins and then another draw—La Real’s unpredictability does not work into its advantage. What is even more disappointing is that it is the negative outcome that manifests.


On the other hand, injuries add more problems for La Real. Diego Ifran will be missed until the latter part of November. Esteban Granero will be back on April next year and Inigo Martinez’s muscle fatigue may sideline him from the match.


Can La Real reclaim its glorious days?



Finally, Osasuna is out of the relegation zone.


The 10 –man Osasuna snatched a narrow win against rival, Rayo Vallecano to move up of the La Liga table and be temporarily saved from relegation. Osasuna now stands at W3-D1-L7.




Similar to Arrasate, Javi Garcia is also keen on adding more wins under its belt. Garcia is aware that a single mistake can push them back into the dreaded zone and when it happens, the harder it is for the club to stay in Spain’s top-flight league.


Garcia, however faces the dilemma of injuries and suspension. Nino will have to wait until January to play, Raoul Loe may not make it during the encounter against La Real, Armenteros shall be missed until mid-November and Sisi has not been seen in action for the rest of the season. In addition, Miguel Angel delas Cuevas was handed with a red card during the Rayo Vallecano match.


Osasuna’s will to win is strong. There is no doubt about that. However, they do not have enough reinforecements and resources as of the moment. The internal problems they confront seem to prevent them from achieving their full potential and making an impressive reputation in the league.


Football betting tip: Real Sociedad  2-1 Osasuna

It does not take rocket science to understand why La Real has the edge. Nevertheless, they cannot be too complacent. They must remember that while it is true that Osasuna is a familiar face at the bottom of the league ranking, they are the first club that forced the mighty Barcelona to a draw—something that La real was unable to accomplish in their recent encounter.





Image Source: La Informacion