The dominance of La Liga top two Barcelona and Real Madrid has been so strong that on the last ten non-Clasico weekends, both have been victorious, so it’s no surprise that Real Madrid are just 3/10 to beat third-placed Villarreal.
Both giants were tested more than usual in their first games of 2011, with Barcelona settling for a 2-1 win over Levante and Real Madrid edging out Getafe 3-2 but normal service has already been resumed with Barcelona seeing off Deportivo 4-0 in their Saturday showdown.
That result leaves Real Madrid five points behind the champions so victory is therefore essential against their Champions League-aspiring visitors, who they boast an eight-point advantage over.
Jose Mourinho’s men boast a perfect record of eight wins from eight at the Bernabeu, conceding only three goals despite having hosted Valencia, Espanyol, Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla.
Three of Villarreal’s five losses have finished 1-0 and it is 6/1 for that trend to repeat itself. Cristiano Ronaldo is the 2/1 favourite to score first yet Angel Di Maria (11/2) and Mesut Ozil (6/1) should be considered having scored in two of Real Madrid’s last three league ties.
The 8pm kick-off is the Valencian derby between Levante and Valencia and the home side have made an encouraging start to 2011, putting up a fight at Barcelona then enjoying a morale-boosting 2-0 win in their Copa del Rey dead rubber against Real Madrid.
The promoted club are 10/3 to build on that by triumphing over Valencia (4/6) – but their rivals have taken all 12 points available to them so far away to bottom-half opposition.
Much may depend on whether Levante top goalscorer Felipe Caicedo, priced at 7/1 to score first, achieves his target of returning from injury in this fixture. The Ecuadorian striker has netted five times in his last five La Liga outings.
The draw is 11/5 and a £10 wager on that would provide a profit of £22. New customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.