- Real Madrid v Celta Vigo: BTTS in the first half – 3/1 with Genting Bet
- Betis v Barcelona: Draw HT/Barcelona FT – 18/5 with BetVictor
- Athletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid: 1-2 correct score – 29/4 with Sportnation.bet
Well, well, well… who saw this coming? Zinedine Zidane back at the helm at Real Madrid just 284 days after he departed. It’s certainly a brave move from both player and club, and only time will tell if it’s the right one.
They say that you should never go back, and Zizou has more reason than most to have not done so. After all, how do you improve on three consecutive Champions League trophies?
Stepping into the breach is nothing new for him of course, as the last time he did it Los Blancos were faltering badly after a poor start under Rafa Benitez.
Now the motivating factor has to be that he wants to ‘do it all again’ and prove that he has the man management skills to get the very best out of any group of players.
The one he inherits might also not be the one he starts next season with too.
Bale, Ceballos and Isco are just three players that are almost certain to leave, with a handful of others really having to fight for their place. Simply put, there can be no passengers along for this ride.
An expected trophyless season, onto a third manager in 10 months… well, this is unbecoming for ‘the best team in the world.’
As always, Zidane will be judged on results and the Champions League wins masked a horrific last domestic campaign. However, that’s something he can begin to put right on Saturday.
Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo Tips
What would’ve been ‘just another game,’ has now turned into Zidane’s homecoming. The Santiago Bernabeu will be full to bursting as the Madridista’s come to pay homage to one of their own.
Celta don’t have the greatest record against Real and haven’t won at the Bernabeu in the league since 2006.
With only one win for the Galicians in their last 12 games this season, this could end up being the perfect start for the Frenchman, although one thing the hosts will have to guard against is exuberance.
It would be very easy indeed to go ‘all in’ and make elementary errors, even if it’s hard to see past a home win come full-time.
With only three clean sheets in all competitions going back to mid-December, Real will offer Celta opportunities. Expect one to be taken in the first half to temporarily silence the home crowd.
Athletic Club vs Atletico Madrid Tips
If there’s one team guaranteed to give Los Leones nightmares, it’s Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, out of the Champions League and seeking an opponent on which to vent their frustrtaion.
Athletic Club have only beaten the Rojiblancos at San Mames on three occasions since 2005, and often struggle badly against them.
An absorbing Champions League defeat to Juventus isn’t likely to deter the visitors, who know that a win here could well bring them closer to Barcelona, who face a tricky away game at Real Betis.
Alvaro Morata is striking up a decent partnership with Antoine Griezmann, and you have to fancy one or both to get on the score sheet here.
Atleti’s famed defending should hold them in good stead too, though a goal from the hosts is very likely given that a 1-2 result is by far their most common outcome this century.
It’s a game that Simeone knows his side can’t really afford to lose, particularly if Barca do the business, as it will mean a 10-point gap will open up with only 10 games left to play.
Keep an eye out for Inaki Williams giving Atleti’s defence a torrid time throughout also.
Real Betis vs Barcelona Tips
The seven-goal thriller at the Camp Nou between these two sides earlier in the season was one of the shock results of the campaign.
Since then, Barcelona have got it together whilst Betis have slowly but surely slipped down the table.
After not managing to beat Valencia in the Copa del Rey semi-final, thereby losing out on the chance to play the final at their home stadium, the Verdiblancos will want to give their fans something to cheer about.
Doing the double over the Catalans will therefore feature highly on the wish list of most supporters.
Coming after Barca’s Champions League Round of 16 tie against Lyon, Quique Setien and his side will know that there’s a chance of fatigue from their visitors, and to that end they must take full advantage.
Depending how results go elsewhere, Betis could conceivably find themselves as high as fifth in the La Liga table come close of play.
This is yet another match that Barcelona have to win. Three more points would bring them closer to mathematically retaining the league title.
Aside from Betis’ November win, the last time that they emerged victorious in this fixture was way back in 2008.
Significantly, on Barca’s last three visits to the Benito Villamarin, they’ve been drawing at half-time and gone on to win on two of those occasions.