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Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Barcelona expected to bounce back against Valencia

Athletic Bilbao may keep things tight against Deportivo

Barcelona's star man Lionel Messi
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Sky Sports from midday Saturday

Sevilla v Villarreal Sky Sports interactive, midday
Sevilla's home form of one win in their last six games sounds much worse than it actually is given the win came against Athletic Bilbao and the other five fixtures were against Manchester United, Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

This is a slight drop in grade and Sevilla can overcome the quick turnaround from Wednesday's Champions League clash in Munich to beat a Villarreal side who have lost eight of their last 12 matches. 

Mark Langdon's recommendation
Sevilla
1pt 10-11 Betway, Hills

Key stat
Villarreal conceded 13 shots on target in last week's home loss to Athletic Bilbao.

Match odds

La Liga standings


Saturday football columns

Didi Hamann

Mark Langdon

Kevin Pullein

Nick Goff


Barcelona v Valencia 3.15pm 
Barcelona’s Champions League exit to Roma sent shockwaves throughout the football world, but it means that Ernesto Valverde’s side can focus on maintaining their unbeaten league record, starting with a victory over third-placed Valencia.

The sides have already met twice in 2018, with Barcelona dispatching the Bats 3-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey. But their second meeting in the league this season should see goals for both sides.

Valencia have scored in 27 of their 31 La Liga games this season - the last defence they failed to breach in all competitions was Barcelona's - while the hosts have drawn a blank on just one occasion in Spain’s top flight this term.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have more than compensated for the departure of Neymar last summer, with 51 goals in La Liga between them.

Valencia’s answer to the super South American duo, Rodrigo and Simone Zaza, have 27 for the season, with Rodrigo having scored in each of Los Che’s last five matches.

The visitors have Real Madrid snapping at their heels in the league and will be hopeful of putting a wounded Barca to the sword, but the Catalan club’s bounce-back factor is unparalleled.

The Blaugrana's only other defeat in all competitions since the start of La Liga this campaign was followed with a 5-0 demolition of Real Betis.

Liam Flin's recommendation
Barcelona to win and both teams to score
2pts 6-4 general

Match odds

La Liga standings


Athletic Bilbao v Deportivo Sky Sports Football, 7.45pm
Deportivo make the trip across the north of Spain to take on an Athletic side who have conceded just nine times at home this season.

By contrast Deportivo have conceded the most goals on the road, but the Basque team’s lack of flair up front provides some hope for the strugglers. Expect another low-scoring affair at San Mames.

Andrew Wilsher's recommendation
Under 2.5 goals
2pts 5-6 188Bet

Match odds

La Liga standings

Key stat
Athletic Bilbao have scored just 14 goals in 15 home games this season.

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Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have scored 51 goals in La Liga between them
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