The theme of cup football continues in midweek, and after visiting England for the Capital One Cup games, then Italy for the Coppa Italia, it’s time to take a trip to Spain for the second legs of the Copa del Rey quarter finals. Barcelona are in command of their tie with Athletico Bilbao, leading 2-1 with the home leg to come on Wednesday night, but the other matches still hang somewhat in the balance.
The most cut and dried of the other three quarter finals is probably the one involving Mirandes and Sevilla, with the latter taking a 2-0 lead to the former, but both other ties are all square. Atletico Madrid kept their fourth consecutive clean sheet as they played out a 0-0 draw with Celta Vigo in the first leg last week, and they return to the Vincente Calderon Stadium on Wednesday evening looking to finish the job. Meanwhile, La Liga Strugglers Las Palmas did well to come away from their first leg at Valencia with a 1-1 draw, and they’ll be looking to pile the misery on Gary Neville’s charges when they welcome them on Thursday night.
Each of those three games present viable betting opportunities, and we start with Atletico who are in typically stout form heading into this cup match.
Atletico Madrid v Celta Vigo
Diego Simeone’s men have been doing what they do best lately, namely keeping clean sheets, and they’ve now conceded just two goals in the last ten games. They’ve won six, drawn three and lost just one of those. In La Liga they’ve been deposed at the top by Barcelona, but remain level on points and very much in the hunt for second title in three years. At home they’ve been utterly imperious in winning the last nine matches in a row prior to Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Sevilla. They were held to a 2-2 draw here early on in the 2014/15 season by Celta Vigo, but had won both previous encounters in front of their own fans, and are fancied to do the same again.
Celta Vigo are 5th in the La Liga table and have good hopes of making European competition this year. They’re seven points behind Villarreal in 4th position, but can aim to close that gap over the remainder of the season. As far as the cup goes, they’ve had a nice run to this stage by beating Almeria and Cadiz, and were arguably the more dominant side in the first leg without really looking like scoring. However, if you take out the away victories over Almeria and Cadiz, the only side they’ve beaten away from home since October is Granada, and they’ve suffered road defeats against Vallecano and Malaga in recent weeks. They clearly are not as strong away as they are at home, and there are few tougher places to go than Atletico Madrid.
Mirandes v Sevilla
The Segunda division side are 9th in that table and face a battle to reach the promotion play-offs. They have beaten La Liga sides Malaga and Deportivo la Coruna en route to this stage though, so they must still be taken seriously even if Sevilla are a different class to those two teams. Unfortunately home form doesn’t inspire confidence as they’ve lost two and drawn two of the last five at their own ground, and they will have to chase this game to try and make up the two-goal deficit. That could easily play into the hands of a slick Sevilla side and enable them to pick off Mirandes on the break.
prior to the 0-0 draw at Atletico, which is a good result in its own right, they had been on a five-game winning streak and it appears that the early season inconsistency could be behind them. Perhaps their Champions League campaign led them to take their eye off the ball domestically, but now they are out of that competition and back in the Europa league to defend their title for a third season running, things are looking up back in Spain. It’s true that their away form had been fairly abysmal before December, but they’ve only lost once on their travels since then and have recorded an away win at Betis in the previous round of this competition, along with that very good point at Atletico Madrid over the weekend. Their class should shine through here.
Las Palmas v Valencia
Las Palmas could make it a miserable night for Valencia and Gary Neville on Thursday at a tempting +200 with BetVictor
Despite battling at the foot of La Liga Las Palmas have found the cup to be a welcome distraction this season, beating Eibar and Real Sociedad en route to this stage. They took the lead away at Valencia in the first leg last week, only to be pegged back by Paco’s second-half goal, and have a decent chance of finishing the job back on home soil. They’ve won 5 of the last 8 games at home.
Valencia continue to struggle under their new leadership, and for a club of their size 11th position in La Liga is not really good enough. Many fans are already calling for Neville to go, and it’s sobering reading to see that their only wins in the last 15 games have come in this competition – home and away against Barakaldo and Granada. Disregarding those results, they’ve lost 7 of their most recent 10 away games, and Las Palmas are 4 from 6 at home.
While it’s hard to have too much confidence, the odds on the home win are rather big.
Atletico Madrid to beat Celta Vigo
Wednesday 27th January 19:30 GMT
Sevilla to beat Mirandes
Thursday 28th January 19:00 GMT
Las Palmas to beat Valencia
Thursday 28th January 20:00 GMT
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