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La Liga weekend preview: Basque derby tops the bill in Spain

Barcelona and Real Madrid aren't in La Liga action this weekend so there's an opportunity to shine a light on some other teams in the Spanish top-flight.

Strugglers Celta Vigo welcome European hopefuls Villarreal to the Estadio de Balaídos for a 20:00 kick-off on Friday.

There are four games scheduled to take place on Saturday with Real Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano first up at 13:00, while the day concludes with a Basque derby between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao at 20:00.

Sunday's programme gets underway at 13:00 when Getafe host Espanyol, before Atletico Madrid head to Almeria at 15:15. 

Elche travel to Cadiz to conclude Round 17 in La Liga on Monday with kick-off set for 20:00 at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla.

Celta showing signs of improvement under Carvalhal

WhatCelta Vigo v Villarreal
WhereEstadio de Balaidos, Vigo
When20:00, Friday 13th January 2023
How to watchViaplay Sports 2, LaLigaTV & bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsCelta Vigo 15/8, Draw 23/10, Villarreal 6/4

Celta Vigo turned to former Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal to turn their season around on 2nd November, having opted to part company with Eduardo Coudet, and the Portuguese has already started to turn the tide.

The Sky Blues fell to a 2-1 defeat in Carvalhal's first game at the helm but have since avoided defeat in their following three La Liga outings, drawing with Rayo Vallecano and Sevilla as well as beating Elche.

They've subsequently climbed to 16th and are one point clear of the relegation zone but their unbeaten streak is under threat with high-flying Villarreal coming to town on Friday.

Villarreal sit sixth after winning three in a row and they are just a point shy of fourth-placed Real Betis as they chase a spot in the Champions League.

The Yellow Submarine have only lost one of their last five meetings with Celta Vigo, winning three and drawing one.

Last season's encounter at the Balaidos ended 1-1 and Celta's recent improvement suggests another draw, priced at 23/10 in the Full Time Result market, could be on the cards.

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Bragging rights on offer in Basque derby

WhatReal Sociedad v Athletic Bilbao 
WhereReale Arena, San Sebastian
When20:00, Saturday 14th January 2023
How to watchViaplay Sports 2, LaLigaTV & bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsReal Sociedad 7/5, Draw 11/5, Athletic Bilbao 21/10

The highlight of the weekend action in La Liga comes on Saturday evening though when Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao meet in a Basque derby at the Anoeta.

Sociedad are unbeaten in four, winning each of their last three, and are sitting comfortably in third with a four-point gap to Betis directly below them.

Bilbao are seventh and also well in the mix for a European berth, trailing sixth-placed Villarreal by a point, while a win at the Anoeta will put them just three points shy of their Basque rivals.

However, Bilbao have struggled to perform on the road this campaign with just nine of their 26 points coming away from home.

It's also worth noting that they haven't picked up a victory at Sociedad in any of the last five meetings, with their most recent triumph coming in March 2017.

Under 2.5 Total Goals, which is 8/13 in the Goals Over/Under market, stands out for this clash with the last two editions of this fixture seeing fewer than three scored. 

That has also been the trend when La Real have featured on home soil this campaign and under 2.5 goals has landed in six of their eight at the Anoeta, including each of the last five.

Atleti eager to bounce back

WhatAlmeria v Atletico Madrid
WhereEstadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos, Almeria
When15:15, Sunday 15th January 2023
How to watchViaplay Sports 2, LaLigaTV, bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsAlmeria 4/1, Draw 11/4, Atletico Madrid 7/10

Atletico Madrid feature as part of Sunday's double-header as they look to get back to winning ways at Almeria.

Diego Simeone's side have been well below their usual standards this campaign and Sunday's 1-0 loss to Barcelona leaves them fifth in the standings.

They've only won one of their last five league engagements, failing to score on two occasions, and Simeone is under the spotlight.

Almeria sit 14th but this trip might not be as straightforward as it appears at first glance for Atletico.

La Union have the sixth-best home record in the division and 15 of their 17 points have been achieved at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos.

History also suggests Almeria could take something from this clash after losing just one of the last six meetings with Atleti on home soil.

Backing Almeria or Draw at 11/10 in the Double Chance market offers interest.

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