Alaves v Eibar – Mendizorroza at 12:00 GMT live at Premier Sports
The battle for a top-four finish in Spain and subsequent qualification for next season’s Champions League continues to enthral and excite with unfashionable pair Getafe and Alaves increasingly looking the most likely to finish ‘best of the rest’ behind big guns Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
Getafe’s deserved triumph away at Real Betis last time out ensured the capital club still sit two points above Alaves in fourth coming into this weekend’s fixtures. But the latter can temporarily move above Getafe by taking top honours in Saturday’s early kick-off from La Liga when Eibar come to town.
The hosts rarely excel in the performance data rankings but their clinical and efficient game-plan based around fast and direct counter-attacks can has caused plenty of opposition sides problems since head coach Abelardo arrived at the club midway through last season.
Taking over El Glorioso when they were entrenched towards La Liga’s bottom-three, the turnaround at Mendizorrotza has been remarkable. The Vitoria club boast a 47% win ratio under Abelardo across his 51 league matches in charge. That record enhances to W14-D6-L4 when hosting league opposition here.
Lowly Rayo Vallecano are the only side to depart Mendizorrotza with maximum points this season and if we exclude the top-four teams above Alaves, the home side have returned a remarkably strong W10-D6-L4 across all La Liga encounters. Yet El Glorioso are available to support at 1.72 with a +0.25 start.
The price is purely based around Alaves’ perceived poor data. It’s true that the hosts are ranked in the bottom-five across the shots in the box, Expected Goals (xG) and xG from open play ratio metrics but few sides in Spain have been so efficient in both boxes, and set-up as well as Abelardo’s outfit this season.
Eibar’s away day struggles
Like Alaves, plucky Eibar continue to punch well above their weight. The top-flight’s smallest club have consolidated in La Liga under the masterful stewardship of Jose Luis Mendilibar. Los Armeros have competed superbly across the campaign, suffering only four defeats by two goals or more.
The Basques face the fewest attempts from inside the penalty area, although Eibar have tended to be sloppy in their defensive third, recording a solitary clean sheet in 12 on the road. In fact, Los Armeros have failed to win 11 of their 12 away days in 2018/19 and 54 (78%) of 69 road trips under Mendilibar.
Since Bonfire Night, Eibar have registered three league triumphs, whilst their tally of nine goals in games as guests could prove their undoing here and I’m surprised to see the visitors chalked up as pre-match favourites. The two teams are well-matched despite their differing styles, although it’s Alaves who deserve more respect from the market this weekend.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Alaves +0.25 at 1.720
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.