After coach Jose Mourinho effectively conceded last weekend that Real Madrid will not retain their La Liga title, his charges’ performance in Malaga this Saturday will be interesting.
Perhaps with the pressure of attempting to make up for a faltering league start lifted, Los Blancos will return to their free-flowing best of last season.
Or possibly with little to aim for in their domestic league, Madrid’s languid showings will continue.
Whatever the case, the league table rarely lies after 16 matches of a season. It shows that Real head to Malaga having won four out of eight away games so far – a ratio of just one in two.
This makes odds as low as 57/100 on a Real away win a little tough to back. A 17/4 bet on Malaga – who boast a strong home record – winning and 31/10 on a draw both look better value.
These odds look particularly attractive when you consider that Malaga, currently fourth in the league, have won their last two matches without conceding a goal.
Perhaps the best hope for Real Madrid is that a Malaga side in confident mood are unlikely to resort to placing a defensive stranglehold on Madrid – tactics that have been embarrassingly effective this season.
Malaga usually field as many as four attacking players at home, and if they seek to take the game to Madrid then expect Los Blancos to have plenty of opportunities to bite on the break.
La Liga fixtures in Malaga this season have averaged 3.375 goals, and Real Madrid away fixtures 3.25.
It is easy to foresee the sides outscoring those averages in this clash – four goals or more in the game can be backed at 5/4, while five goals or more at 14/5 also appeals.
Backing Malaga to win a match with four total goals or more will bring you whopping odds of 13/1.
There could be an argument though that the more goals are scored, the more likely it is that Real’s greater attacking talent will prevail. Following that thinking makes odds of 9/4 for Real to win a match with four goals or more stand out, but given Los Blancos’ away record it is a Malaga win which looks best of all.