Three Games to Watch

Athletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid Atletico Madrid are in fine form and are looking good to win this match despite the injury to top scorer Radamel Falcao.  What looked like it could be a serious injury has been assessed and the Colombian striker is now expected to be out for weeks instead of months as first feared. Madrid coach (and club legend) Diego Simeone has made light of the injury and certainly doesn’t seem to be feeling the pressure of going into this match without one of his best players, at least not in public. Madrid have the third best attack in the league this season and the second best defence, more than justifying their position of second place in the table. Athletic Bilbao sit in 14th place in the table and with only two wins in the last 6 look like the kind of opponents most sides challenging for a Champions League place would like to face. With a solid Madrid defence and a goalkeeper in fine form, I’m expecting this game to be a relatively low scoring event, the under 2.5 goals market is at it’s highest with Pinnacle and SBO Bet at 1.84. The better choice is a straight Madrid win at 2.42 with Pinnacle. Rayo Vallecano v Real Betis Betis are clearly a team that prefer to play away from home with some impressive results and stats from their travels this season. These two sides are not far apart in the table right now (Betis 4th, Vallecano 6th) and here we see a match up between a strong away team facing a resilient team at home. I’d like to back Betis for a fourth consecutive away victory but have the feeling that might be a stretch too far for them. Instead I’m going to fly in the face of logic and back the under 2.5 goals market at odds around evens with several bookies. Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham picked up a creditable draw last week with many observers saying that they were the better side against Manchester United.  Having watched the game myself I felt Spurs lacked a cutting edge, something United have in Robin Van Persie, and with a clinical striker up front, Tottenham could have taken all three points in that game. Leeds are still in the chase for promotion and although a play off spot looks realistically the best they are likely to get, this is a team that has players with Premiership experience and could lift their game against once familiar foes. Leeds have been active in the transfer market, bringing in Michael Tonge who is highly likely to start this game, loan signing Ross Barkley won’t feature though as Everton have refused permission for him to play, that’s a shame as his guile in midfield would have been a useful addition. Spurs are likely to make a small number of changes, Villas-Boas will not want to risk progressing in this competition but will take the chance to rotate a little.  Expect Benoit Assou-Ekotto to start the game at left back, Brad Friedel is likely to replace French No.1 Hugo Lloris in goal and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kyle Naughton switch to right back to give Kyle Walker a rest. Keep an eye out for young winger Andros Townsend, he is not a popular figure with Leeds fans after an ill-fated loan spell last season, there may well be a reaction from the Elland Road fans if he gets on the pitch. The best option I can see here is Tottenham -1 at 2.09 with 188Bet,  Tottenham have it in them to put a few goals past this Leeds United side but at the very least a win is expected.]]>