Form Labs Weekender

COURTESYFOOTBALL FORM LABS

Deportivo v Barcelona - Sunday 15:15, Sky Sports 2

Barcelona looked dead and buried in the Champions League on Wednesday when PSG nabbed a goal to make it 3-1 to Barca, but thanks to one of the greatest late surges in European competition history the Catalan giants eventually prevailed 6-1, and will advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Their season looked like being a disaster not long ago but they now have a realistic chance of winning the treble. The question will be whether they can refocus on La Liga ahead of this clash against Deportivo – it’s the sort of match they really need to win to preserve their slender lead at the top of the table. Depor managed a draw at home to Betis last time out, meaning they’re unbeaten in three and up to 16th.

After a shaky start to the league campaign, during which they lost two of their first three home games, Deportivo have been very good at home, losing only two of their last nine. They’ve managed draws over Atletico and Villarreal, while they were unable to hold on to lead against Sevilla and went on to lose 3-2. They’ve also led at the break in seven of their last 10 at home, whilst they haven’t trailed at the half in any of these.

The issue for the hosts will be Barca’s excellent form (as exemplified on Wednesday night) and their nine-game unbeaten run on the road, though they have been held to draws in three of their last seven on their travels. Depor have not scored in any of their last three against Big Two teams at La Coruna, shipping 14 in the process, while Barca have won each of their last eight at bottom-six sides, scoring three or more in four of the last five in that run, so this could be a long afternoon for Deportivo.

However, Depor led at the break in seven of their last 10 at home, whilst they haven’t trailed at the half in any of these while Barca have been level at the half in six of their last eight on the road and we can see taking them a while to kick into gear after the high of their win in midweek. Ultimately the Catalans should prove too strong and so we’ll back Draw/Barcelona HT/FT at 4.75.

Weekend Team News Analysis

Espanyol v Las Palmas

Roque Mesa (CM) and Marko Livaja (FW), Las Palmas

Las Palmas are without two of their key players for the trip to Espanyol. Mesa has failed to score in just eight matches since the start of last season and Las Palmas will miss his influence in the middle of the park. However, it’s Livaja’s absence in particular that could be telling. He’s provided five goals and three assists in his first season for Las Palmas despite starting just 14 games. They’ve lost only three of these, compared to 7/12 when he’s not started, while they’ve scored 37% fewer goals without him.

Espanyol have won five of their last seven at home and have led at half time in three of their last four on their own turf. Las Palmas are winless in 11 on the road and have trailed at the break in five of the last seven, so we’re backing Espanyol/Espanyol HT/FT at 3.6

Valencia v Gijon

Enzo Perez (CM), Valencia

Captain Perez is a crucial player for Valencia but is suspended for this match. In the 29 games he’s missed since the start of last season, Valencia have won just five times, while they’ve won 40% of the 35 he’s started. This season Los Che have picked up just two points from the seven games Perez has missed.

Prior to a defeat against Barca in their last away game, Gijon had picked up their first away win of the season and they’ve also netted in eight of their last 11 on their travels. The result against Barca was their only loss by more than one goal in their last 11 away and as such we expect them to be competitive here. We’re backing them on the Double Chance at 2.75

Schalke v Augsburg

Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (CB), Paul Verhaegh (RB) and Daniel Baier (DM), Augsburg

Recent injuries in defensive positions has seen one of the Bundesliga’s best defences start to break down. Having conceded just 17 goals in their first 16 this term, Augsburg have since yielded 13 in seven. The most important of these players is captain Paul Verhaegh. He’s missed just 12 of 57 matches since the start of last season and they’ve conceded 1.75 goals per game when he’s been absent compared to 1.36 gpg when he starts.

Schalke have won six of their last 10 at home, with five of these wins by more than one goal .We’re backing them to cover the -1 handicap at 3.2

Fancy the three bets above? It's a 30/1 treble that they all come in!

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