La Liga: Zidane faces Deportivo in Real bow, Sevilla host Bilbao
Lee Gormley | January 8, 2016
Following the early dismissal of Rafa Benitez from Real Madrid, club icon Zinedine Zidane takes charge of his first game as boss in the Bernabeu dugout, as he prepares for a La Liga clash with Deportivo La Coruna. Elsewhere, reigning Europa League champions Sevilla welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Sevilla v Athletic Bilbao
- La Liga
- Saturday, January 9th
- Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
- Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan
Sevilla face Bilbao battle at home
Unai Emery’s Sevilla welcome fellow European position contenders Athletic Bilbao to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan for their latest La Liga meeting, with the visitors hoping to add to recent fixture success.
The hosts prevailed in the Spanish pair’s last domestic dust-up, but it was the only loss in four previous clashes for Bilbao, and Ernesto Valverde’s travelling side are 12/5 with Coral for another victory.
The visiting Basques have won four of their last five games on all fronts and come into this league meeting on the back of a Copa del Rey coup over Villarreal, but Sevilla have recovered from their poor season start and are evens for home ruling.
Sevilla overturning form and fortunes
Emery’s back-to-back Europa League champions began the La Liga term underwhelmingly, failing to win any of their opening five games, but the Sevillistas have recently turned a corner and have lost just once in their previous six league outings.
Such a poor start to proceedings this campaign has left Sevilla trailing behind in the race for a European position, currently sitting in ninth, while their next opponents lie further up in sixth.
Llorente returns to old stomping ground
There will be a familiar face when the Spanish pair collide this weekend, with Sevilla’s Basque frontman Fernando Llorente preparing to face his former employers and he is 5/1 to net the game’s last goal.
Ciro Immobile has bagged three goals in the three games he has started on home turf this season in all competitions and is 9/2 to open proceedings, while Bilbao threats Aritz Aduriz and Iker Muniain are 6/4 and 5/1 to strike anytime respectively.
Real Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna
- La Liga
- Saturday, January 9th
- Kick-off: 19:30 GMT
- Bernabeu, Madrid
Zidane makes Real Madrid boss bow
Real Madrid have not been toppled by Deportivo La Coruna since August 2008 and it will be new boss Zidane’s immediate job to continue that rampant record, as his inherited squad look to keep pace with Barcelona and leaders Atletico Madrid.
Club legend Zidane spent six seasons at the Bernabeu as a player, but he must now lead Los Blancos out as coach against a Deportivo outfit that have won just one of their last seven outings in all competitions.
The title-chasing hosts are 29/10 to fire in five or more goals against the Riazor-based club, having done so in the past three consecutive seasons, including an 8-2 demolition last term.
Real possess potent firepower
The visitors are 28/1 to spoil Zidane’s welcome party on their travels, but have a tough task ahead with key marksman Cristiano Ronaldo in typically fine form. He is 2/1 to bag a brace or more here following a fixture hat-trick last campaign, while Welshman Gareth Bale is 4/1 to open the scoring, with their new boss ready to bring out the best of his astute attacking stars.
For the visitors, Jonathan Rodriguez is a key threat at 10/3 to strike anytime, while Luis Alberto is 7/2 for a goal of his own.
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