Alaves v Eibar – Mendizorroza at 12:00 GMT live at Premier Sports

The battle for a top-four finish in Spain and subsequentqualification for next season’s Champions League continues to enthral andexcite with unfashionable pair Getafe and Alaves increasingly looking the mostlikely to finish ‘best of the rest’ behind big guns Barcelona, Atletico Madridand Real Madrid.

Getafe’s deserved triumph away at Real Betis last time out ensuredthe capital club still sit two points above Alaves in fourth coming into thisweekend’s fixtures. But the latter can temporarily move above Getafe by takingtop 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 theirclinical and efficient game-plan based around fast and direct counter-attackscan has caused plenty of opposition sides problems since head coach Abelardoarrived at the club midway through last season.

Taking over El Glorioso when they were entrenched towards La Liga’sbottom-three, the turnaround at Mendizorrotza has been remarkable. The Vitoriaclub boast a 47% win ratio under Abelardo across his 51 league matches incharge. That record enhances to W14-D6-L4 when hosting league opposition here.

Alaves underrated

Lowly Rayo Vallecano are the only side to depart Mendizorrotza withmaximum 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 Ligaencounters. 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’strue 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 Spainhave been so efficient in both boxes, and set-up as well as Abelardo’s outfitthis 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 masterfulstewardship of Jose Luis Mendilibar. Los Armeros have competed superbly acrossthe 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 undoinghere 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’sAlaves who deserve more respect from the market this weekend.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation:  Alaves +0.25 at 1.720

Preview by: @MarkOHaire.

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