The La Liga season is set to come back with a bang as Real Madrid host Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabéu on Saturday afternoon. This top four clash is without a doubt the stand out feature as the Spanish season gets back into full swing following the winter break.
Buoyant after the break
Both teams head into their top of the table grudge match in good spirits after victories at the weekend. Sevilla managed to secure a spot in the next round of the Copa del Rey against lower league opponents Escobedo in a 5-0 fiesta. However all eyes have quite understandably been on Los Blancos as of late.
Zinedine Zidane’s side secured a Supercopa victory against cross-town rivals Atlético in extra time. Although it took them extra time and penalties to finish the job, it once again demonstrates how, when called upon, Real can summon what it takes to win when absolutely necessary.
Head to head
In fact Real have already seen off Sevilla in the reverse fixture at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán back in September, with only Karim Benzema the sole name on the scoresheet.
Former Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui has overseen a sea change at Sevilla since being hired by the southerners last summer. A total of 13 players were brought in to bolster a squad that saw no fewer than 20 players go in the opposite direction, either on loan or permanent deals, making it a tough ask to compare recent form between the two over a longer period.
The departure of former first-team players has left Lopetegui with a first-team squad to be largely shaped in his own image. The reverse fixture in September was a fairly even affair with both sides enjoying swathes of possession.
Sevilla’s stout performance last autumn ultimately left them empty-handed, but Lopetegui will be full of encouragement. He heads back to the Bernabéu for the first time since his short-lived reign at Real came to a tumultuous end after last season’s Clasico defeat.
Best value odds
Out of any of the main actors in action in La Liga this upcoming weekend, the best value offered by the bookies are without a doubt for this top-four clash. For the latest betting tips, whether it’s La Liga or other European favourites visit BetBlazers.com.
Unsurprisingly though home side Real are favourites to take the three points from this fixture, but with Sevilla only trailing by five points there is slightly more value to find on the home side at around 8/13 than you usually might expect.
Real are currently undefeated in the ten last in La Liga, going some way to explaining why the away team are valued at around 9/2 to steal a win and avenge their man in the dugout.
Real head into the fixture with four draws from their undefeated stretch, which is why at 7/2 a draw comes out fairly evenly priced. A bet on both teams to score will land you around the same value as backing a victory for the home side. Bear in my that around half of Real’s home games this season have seen the visiting side fail to score.
As Catalan rivals Barcelona pay a visit to a Granada side whose progress has lapsed in their first La Liga bout after the winter break, Real will need to get their campaign back on track immediately. There can be no room for mistakes from now on.
One reason the value appears to be spread more evenly across the board for Sevilla’s trip to the capital is Real’s sheer lack of ruthlessness on home ground this season. Zidane’s side may have only lost one game so far this domestic campaign but currently display a distinctive inability to finish sides off at times.
At any rate, if Real are to claim the La Liga crown from the clutches of a prolific Barcelona outfit, they’ll certainly have to see off Sevilla and the likes from now until the final showdown in May.