La Liga is back with a mouth-watering Matchday 9 that will see two Champions League teams in Atlético Madrid and Real Sociedad compete at the Wanda Metropolitano whilst Barcelona will travel to newly promoted Granada.
We’ve got you covered with the best La Liga betting tips for this weekend’s action in Spain’s top flight, which will begin on Friday with Athletic Club hosting Almería at the San Mamés.
Athletic Club to Continue Almería’s Woes Away From Home?
Almería returned to Spain’s top-flight after eight years and narrowly avoided the drop on the final day of the season after drawing 3-3 at Espanyol, a match that would see Adrián Embarba score a penalty in the 87th minute to secure a draw. Whilst Espanyol dropped down to the second tier, Almería avoided relegation by one point.
After selling El Bilal Touré to Atalanta – last season’s top scorer in the league with seven goals – Almería kicked off the 2023-24 La Liga season with a 2-0 home defeat to Rayo Vallecano before losing 3-1 to Real Madrid, drawing 1-1 at Cádiz and losing 3-2 to Celta de Vigo. Their post-international break form has shown little signs of improvement, with the Andalusian side losing 2-1 at Villarreal, drawing 2-2 to Valencia and falling 5-1 to Sevilla, a match that would result in the dismissal of Vicente Moreno after seven games at the helm.
The following match, Luis Suárez became the second player in La Liga history to score a hat trick between the 40th minute and halftime after Luis Perez in 1995, but Granada stormed back with three goals, equalizing in the 86th minute and breaking the hearts of the home supporters.
The club are in negotiations with Portuguese coach Víctor Pereira, but it appears that caretaker manager Alberto Lasarte will be in charge for their match against Athletic Club.
Unlike Almería, who have had five straight matches with over 2.5 goals scored, Athletic Club have not exactly begun the season in a decidedly high-scoring fashion, losing 2-0 to Real Madrid, beating Osasuna 2-0, storming back from two goals down and beating Real Betis 4-2, before drawing 0-0 at Mallorca and beating Cádiz 3-0.
Having scored the final goal against Cádiz, Ghana international Iñaki Williams grabbed a goal and an assist in their 2-0 win against Alavés and restored their lead in a 2-2 draw to Getafe, but he was rendered toothless in a 3-0 loss at Real Sociedad at the weekend. Apart from this loss to La Real and their opening day defeat to Real Madrid, he has registered a shot on target in each match, having also scored against Osasuna and grabbed an assist against Betis.
With 21 goals conceded, Almería have the joint-worst defense in La Liga with Granada, they’ve conceded the most penalties (4) alongside Mallorca, and their 14.0 expected goals conceded is second only to Granada (16.7). It has been over four months since Almería kept a clean sheet whilst their last clean sheet away from home came in May 2022 in a 2-0 victory against Real Sociedad’s B team. They have kept just four clean sheets since then, and they have picked up just seven points away from home in 2023.
The Andalusian side have a tough task ahead of them as they look to escape the relegation zone, and we’re expecting Iñaki Williams to feast on their leaky defense and get at least a shot on target against Almería.
With Iñaki and his younger brother Nico forming a dynamic synergy in attack, and with 23-year-old sensation Oihan Sancet returning from suspension, there’s more than enough reason to add an Athletic Club victory to your picks and parlays for the weekend’s action in Spain.
Bellingham’s Magical Run to Continue vs Osasuna?
After beginning their season with six straight victories under Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid fell to a 3-1 defeat to Atlético Madrid before bouncing back with a 2-0 win against Las Palmas. Brahim Díaz got a rare start and broke the deadlock before the interval whilst Joselu doubled the advantage afterward.
Having been dropped from the team for their derby defeat, Joselu has made himself a genuine contender for a starting spot after arriving in the summer from Espanyol, with the 33-year-old journeyman striker opening the scoring and rewarding Jude Bellingham’s inch-perfect, outside-of-the-foot through ball with a cool finish.
Real Madrid had been on the ropes for the first 17 minutes, with Girona coming close to opening the scoring on several occasions. and their errant finishing came back to bite them shortly after as Aurélien Tchouaméni scored from a corner kick, his first goal since making the move to the Spanish capital in 2022. Los Blancos continued to outclass the hosts, then league leaders, with Bellingham sealing the deal in the 71st minute to secure a comfortable 3-0 win.
The following match would see Napoli take an early lead as Kepa Arrizabalaga failed to clear a corner kick, but the 14-time European champions would storm back immediately after as Bellingham intercepted a pass and found Vinícius who calmly slotted past Alex Meret. They took the advantage in the 34th minute as Bellingham picked up the ball at the center circle, coasted past a sea of blue shirts and turned Leo Skiri Østigård inside out with his left before firing a shot with his right into the side-netting.
It was a goal that evoked comparisons of a previous midfielder to wear the No. 5 for Real Madrid – a certain Zinedine Zidane. Piotr Zieliński leveled things up from the penalty spot whilst Federico Valverde’s thunderbolt would see Real prevail with a 3-2 victory.
They sit first in their Champions League group and first in La Liga – one point above Barcelona and two above Girona – and they’ll be facing off against 10th-placed Osasuna in a rematch of this year’s Copa del Rey Final. Osasuna returned to European competition after 17 years, losing 4-3 on aggregate to Club Brugge in the Europa Conference League playoffs. Since that crushing elimination in Belgium, the Pamplona-based side have lost 2-1 to Barcelona and 3-2 to Getafe, drawing 0-0 to Sevilla before falling to a 2-0 loss to Atlético Madrid.
They kicked off October with a trip to newly promoted Alavés, taking the lead before the break via José Arnaiz, with the hosts falling to 10 men in the 49th minute and Osasuna making them pay with a goal from Ante Budimir in the 90th minute.
Real have won their last two matches against Osasuna, including a 2-1 victory in this year’s final, and they haven’t lost at home to Osasuna since 2004. I’m tempted to go with another victory for Los Blancos, and I’m tempted to go with a high-scoring affair as well with key figures in defense like Nacho, Éder Militão and possibly David Alaba out for Los Blancos, as well as first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Once again, the X-factor will be Bellingham, who has made a sensational start to life in Madrid – with eight goals and three assists in nine matches, only Lautaro Martínez (12), Harry Kane (13) and Serhou Guirassy (13) have more in Europe’s top five leagues.
Expect Real to grab another win at the Bernabéu and expect Bellingham to have a major role to play.