If JC and Terry had an illegitimate child, then it would be me! Like JC, I love betting on Spanish La Liga – something I’ve had substantial success with in recent years. However, my approach to betting is almost identical to Terry’s; I am a value hunter, never accept a bad price and love to take advantage via Asian handicaps. My job is to complement JC’s tips with match previews, reviews and general chit-chat. I will also be throwing in a few ‘value’ Asian handicap selections here and there for good measure.
So where to get started? Since there are hardly any betting markets available at this stage, it makes sense to analyse some of the talent on show this season in Spain. I’m going to start with a look at some of the teams that struggled last season and their recent musings in the transfer window in an attempt to avoid relegation.
Top 5 – “Diamonds in the Rough”
5) Antonio Floro Flores, Granada (29, Striker)
My decision to include the Italian was very touch-and-go, especially with a below par return of 4 goals last season for Udinese. However, the season before he scored more than a goal every 2 games and I think he has the underlying skills to be a success in the league. He plays as a classic number 9 and should fit in nicely at Granada offering the club an alternative style to the usual expected tippy-tappy Spanish stereotype.
4) Diego Colotto, Espanyol (31, Defender)
It’s only fair to include a defender in this top 5 and they don’t come much finer that Colotto. Despite being 31 and arguably past his prime, Colotto is a brilliant blend of experience and skill that will add quality to the Catalonians defence. Espanyol conceded 56 goals last season, more than the late Villarreal; Colotto has been bought in specifically to stem the flow.
3) Sisi, Osasuna (26, Attacking Midfielder)
With confidence I can say that not many would have heard of Osasuna’s latest addition and I must admit, I hadn’t either before the Segunda play offs at the tail of last season. He had a starring role in that final game versus Alcorcon, managing to play through the after effects of a dislocated shoulder sustained in January. He had a fantastic return of 14 goals last season, despite playing in midfield and I believe he has the ability to transfer this goal scoring ability to La Liga and fill the void left by Raul Garcia.
2) Xavi Torres, Getafe (25, Midfielder)
Of all the teams featured in this preview, Getafe has probably the lowest chance of relegation. However, they are by no means safe and could do with adding depth to the midfield. Xavi Torres is a perfect addition to the side. He earns his trade as a defensive midfielder and was instrumental in the success of the surprise package of the season, Levante. He was also once on the cards at Barcelona – the talent is certainly there and let’s hope he has the chance to shine again this season.
1) Youssef El-Arabi, Granada (25, Striker)
One transfer in La Liga this season that has really flown under the radar is Youssef El-Arabi from Saudi side Al-Hilal. In just 23 games last season, El-Arabi bagged 17 goals, an incredible return even considering being part of the Saudi league which averages almost 3 goals a game. The Granada side has been decimated by a mass exodus, with the losses of Uche, Martins and Ighalo being particularly tough to chew. I thoroughly expect El-Arabi to succeed this season and can see him being pivotal to Granada’s success.
I also write for InsideSpanishFootball.com; check out my weekly betting previews and tips in the new season… feedback is always appreciated!