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As the world at large adjusts to a new normal, European football is slowly starting to creep from the shadows as the world’s top leagues get underway once again. In Spain, La Liga got back rolling this week, and this weekend offers a full slate of action.
In what will be the first weekend in what should be an exciting final month of the season, let’s take a closer look at three La Liga matchups I have my eye on this weekend. All odds listed provided by our friends over at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Atletico Madrid (-270) vs. Real Valladolid (+840)
Saturday, 4 PM EST
Currently sitting just inside the top four of the table, a position that would propel them to the UEFA Champions League should it hold, Atletico Madrid re-enters the 2019-20 season with plenty to play for. If their first time back was any indication, Valladolid has plenty to be concerned about in this one.
A 5-0 victory that saw Atletico go up 2-0 in the first 27′ minutes, their opponent Osasuna was outmanned from the jump as they let in five of the six shots on target.
For Valladolid, their first time back on the pitch since the pandemic resulted in a modest success, a 0-0 draw collecting a point as they look to just try and stave off relegation.
In this one, Atletico is clearly the more talented and at this point in the campaign motivated team. Sitting inside the fourth place by just two points, I expect strong performances over the final month of play, and for Wednesday’s result to be a common one down the stretch.
While the full game line being a bit too juicy for my taste, I like the half market in this one with Atletico only laying a slight number in this one.
Real Sociedad (+320) vs. Real Madrid (-135)
Sunday, 4 PM EST
Another season of La Liga brings another season of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona battling it out for the top of the league’s table. Coming back from the pandemic, just two points separated the two as just over a month of regular-season action remains.
For Real Madrid, a hot re-start was in order as they knocked off Valencia 3-0 Thursday in a game that was never really close. Thanks to two second-half goals by Madrid’s Karim Benzema, two points from the top of the table is where Madrid remains.
For Sociedad, a re-start of La Liga means a re-start of holding on for dear life as the 6th and final UEFA qualifier position in the table. Thir first time back since the pandemic wasn’t as pleasant, a 0-2 loss at the feet of Alaves that included a red card for defencemen Joseba Zaldua.
Nipping at the heals of arch-rival Barcelona, I like Real Madrid to stay in the win column in this one as they hit the road for the first time since being back. As we’ll see throughout pandemic-sports, I expect less impact of road games with no fans and tighter turn around for teams heading home.