Montanier helps Sociedad climb every mountain

Primera Division Spanyol

You can gorge yourself on six televised games from Spain this Easter. Tobias Gourlay has previewed all of them.


Celta Vigo v Barcelona

Saturday 17:00 (Live on Sky Sports 1)

Celta 9.0 Barcelona 1.43 draw 5.0


Celta made a habit of winning this fixture a few years ago, beating Barca at Balaidos in 2002, 2003 and 2004. In the aftermath of international fixtures that sent  Alexis Sanchez, Mascherano and Messi to South America and involved Barca's Spanish stars in two hard games closer to home, we might have fancied them for another upset  at a time when Barca have won only 1/4 on the road.

Alas, Iago Aspas is suspended. Opta says he's been involved in 59 per cent of Celta's goals this season, which makes him as important to Celta as Messi is to  Barcelona.


Adriano, Carles Puyol, Jordi Alba, Pedro, Victor Valdes and Xavi will not make the trip to Galicia, but Tito Vilanova is taking training again.


Barca have been ahead at half-time in 7/11 away wins under Vilanova. Between him and Messi - who has scored in 18 straight league games - there is the nous, skill and  inspiration to overcome Celta quickly, even if Tuesday's game with Paris St Germain is the priority.


Recommended Bet

Back Barcelona/Barcelona @ 2.2


Real Zaragoza v Real Madrid

Saturday 19:00 (Live on Sky Sports 1)

Zaragoza 8.2 Real 1.45 draw 5.1


Three days left and Zaragoza haven't scored a league goal this month.


They haven't won any of their last seven at La Romareda, where Real won this fixture 6-0 last season.


Jose Mourinho has a full squad to choose from, but might rest important players like Xabi Alonso ahead of next week's Champions League match with Galatasaray.


The aim will be to lock down three points as early as possible and a quick win looks achievable: seven of the last 11 goals Zaragoza have let in have come before  half-time.


Recommended Bet

Back Real Madrid/Real Madrid @ 2.05


Espanyol v Real Sociedad

Sunday 18:00 (Live on Sky Sports 1)

Espanyol 2.76 Sociedad 2.82 draw 3.35


Javier Aguirre's Espanyol are unbeaten at home (W5-D2-L0). Philippe Montanier's Real Sociedad are ten games unbeaten home and away (W6-D4-L0).


Espanyol have enjoyed good results against Sociedad in recent years, losing only once in 11 meetings, but have scored only three goals in their last five games.


Sociedad shattered Atletico Madrid's perfect home record earlier this month and rate a bet at 2.82 to spoil Aguirre's numbers too.


Recommended Bet

Back Real Sociedad @ 2.82


Atletico Madrid v Valencia

Sunday 20:00 (Live on Sky Sports 1)

Atletico 1.83 Valencia 5.2 draw 3.8


Atletico Madrid have won 13/14 at the Vicente Calderon this season. The goals have dried up a bit - 27 in the first eight, then seven in the last six - but a narrow  win is definitely on this weekend.


Ernesto Valverde's visitors have lost once in eight, but their away record is padded by a series of single-goal victories over some of La Liga's strugglers.


Los Che have not done badly in this fixture recently (W2-D2-L3), but for a while now they have been regular losers on trips to top-six teams: W3-D3-L21 since 2007 (W2 -D2-L12 if you exclude results against Barca and Real).


Let's go further: they have been behind at half-time in 18/21 defeats at top-six teams (12/12 excluding the Big Two).


Recommended Bet

Back Atletico/Atletico @ 3.0


Athletic Bilbao v Granada

Monday 19:00 (Live on Sky Sports Xtra)

Athletic 1.8 Granada 5.1 draw 4.0


Athletic Bilbao won last time out at San Mames, but haven't won two in a row there all season.


We wouldn't normally trust the Lions at odds-on prices, but Granada are winless in five and missing penalty-taking full-back Guilherme Siquiera and two central  midfielders.


Recommended Bet

Back Athletic Bilbao @ 1.8


Real Betis v Getafe

Monday 21:00 (Live on Sky Sports Xtra)

Betis 1.92 Getafe 4.6 draw 3.65


Two more teams in rude health: Betis have won their last two at home; Getafe have won 4/5 anywhere. Ignore the trips to Barca and Real, and Getafe are unbeaten in  eight.


We've noted before that Betis' best results come when they are not fancied. To a lesser extent, the same is true of Getafe.


At these prices, we like the visitors.


Recommended Bet

Back Getafe +0.5 @ 2.08


(Source: Betfair)




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