La Liga tips: Madrid giants face uphill task as title race gathers pace

As Barcelona take a firm grip of La Liga's title race, Tipstrr football expert Paul Bathurst looks ahead to a crucial few days for their Madrid rivals, neither of whom can afford any more mistakes.

La Liga's title race is shaping up to be another epic battle between El Clasico rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid.

However, the capital club managed by Carlo Ancelotti have it all to do, as they currently sit eight points behind Xavi's Barcelona side, and this week is likely to be vital in the title race.

After the league leaders squeezed a 2-1 win out of Wednesday's trip to Betis, Real Madrid will feel they must win both of their games over the next few days, starting with Thursday's visit of Valencia, followed by a trip to Mallorca on Sunday.

Los Blancos were incredibly unfortunate at the weekend in their 0-0 stalemate at home to third-placed Real Sociedad.

Vinicius Junior had multiple big chances, with the Brazilian frequently thwarted by the impressive Alex Remiro, who was phenomenal in goal for Sociedad.

Without doubt Real Madrid should have won that game, and the draw stalled their progress after the Galacticos had won tough games away at Bilbao and Villarreal.

Valencia visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday evening without a manager, following the sacking of AC Milan legend Gennaro Gattuso this week.

Voro will again take charge of the side for this one in what will be his eighth stint as an interim manager for the club, and he does so with Valencia sitting in 14th place after a disappointing first half of the season.

The talent of Real Madrid, with the likes of Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema up front, should be far too much for a disorganised Valencia side.

These two teams shared a 1-1 draw in the Super Cup in Riyadh three weeks ago, but Real were by far the better side, although they eventually needed a penalty-shootout to secure their place in the final.

On Saturday Real's arch-rivals and Madrid neighbours Atletico will host relegation-threatened Getafe just 12 kilometres away from the Bernabeu.

Atleti had a very poor run of form prior to the World Cup with just a solitary win in their five La Liga matches.

Since the return of domestic competition, however, Diego Simeone's side have taken 10 points from a possible 15, with a tight loss to Barcelona included.

Wins against Elche, Valladolid and Osasuna have given them a boost, whilst a 1-1 draw away at Almeria was very unfortunate with an xG score of 0.95 vs 2.00.

Getafe, who are another Madrid-based club, have lost their last four league games, so it comes as very little surprise to see the predicament the 19th-placed team find themselves in, considering no side in La Liga has created a lower xG total than Getafe.

The defensive numbers for this side are much better, with just eight other sides having given up more chances so far this campaign, so if Getafe do stay in the division, it will be down to their defence.

Both Real Madrid and Atletico should have no issues in their next matches. Combining both sides to win in a double at 10/11 with PlanetSportBet could be the way to go, while a single bet of Atletico Madrid to Win To Nil at 17/20 against Getafe is also appealing.

Latest news