AskFans European Football expert Vedran Ostojic previews this weekend's action in La Liga with a bet of the week and more. Keep an eye our out for his latest combined XI too!
This weekend's matches
With Barcelona in a commanding spot after 18 games played, top 4 chase in La Liga shapes to be a thrilling contest with five teams within points of the Champions League spots, while Ernesto Valverde's men look to build on the nine-point gap behind them at Real Sociedad.
Real Madrid have struggled for consistency and host tough and somewhat unpredictable Villarreal in hope to boost their chase, looking for a return to the winning ways after two consecutive draws now behind them.
They've been conceding many goals and the visitors' surely promise a solid challenge and an exciting clash at Santiago Bernabeu.
Eibar have shown great character at home this term and they're up for a difficult task as they look to beat Atleti in front of the home fans and stay in the contest for the European competitions next term, sitting just a point behind the 6th placed Submarino Amarillo.
Looking elsewhere, in-form Athletic Bilbao travel to mid-table rivals Levante looking to cause an upset and extend a fine streak of their own in another interesting clash on Sunday. Real Betis and Leganes promise an interesting matchup too, as they close the week on Monday evening in a mid-table clash at Estadio Benito Villamarin.
I'd love to be at..
Real Madrid's home clash against Villarreal comes off as the obvious pick for me here, as Los Blancos come in desperate need of points to keep their hopes alive. While they've obviously been far from their best, we're used to thriller contests in a scorching atmosphere in the capital.
Villarreal have returned to the winning ways once again and promise a great challenge as well, having snatched a point in a 1-1 draw at this ground on their last trip!
We've seen five goals in their last head-to-head clash and it does seem we're in for another thriller looming now.
Bet of the week
Atletico Madrid travel to Eibar in a furious spell of form and on the back of a four-match winning streak. Although the home side have proven themselves as a very tough team to beat, backing Atleti to cause an upset at Ipurua does seem like the best value in the market at 19/20 with GentingBet.
La Liga Combined XI...
In what shapes to be a busy winter transfer period in Spain, I'll pick my favourites as per transfers done and transfers rumoured. With several big stars already moving and many in the papers, there's surely a lot to talk about!
Strikers: Diego Costa's transfer to Atletico Madrid has been a long-known fact but it's obvious he's made an early impact and a big splash in the capital once again.
Other major stories include Sevilla's interest in Chelsea Michy Batshuayi, who would surely be a big gun up front, as well as wide-spread talks about Antoine Griezmann's potential move from Atleti to Barcelona or elsewhere.
Midfield: After covering our three up front, it's fair to say Philippe Coutinho's move to Barcelona has shunned all other stories in the transfer market after the New Year. Although we find it hard to believe, Man United's reported interest in Marco Asensio would surely make winter in Spain a lot more thrilling too! Real Madrid haven't been all than inactive either and it's said Eden Hazard has denied a renewal in favour of a deal with Los Blancos, which would surely rock the football world. Andre Gomez has, on the other hand, gone missing at Camp Nou but Spurs' interest is evident and we could see his star shine yet again at Wembley.
Defence: Sevilla's snatching up Corinthians left-back Guilherme Arana for £9.90m has turned some heads and the youngster surely has a lot to prove. Other news at the back include Yerry Mina signing for Barcelona from Palmeiras, promising a bright future for Catalans at the back, as well as Francis Coquelin's potential move to Valencia.
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois has become a focal point when it comes to goalkeeper transfers, attracting attention from Real Madrid and many other European big guns amid rumours of a potential Stamford Bridge exit.
MORE: What next for Barcelona now they have Coutinho? Here's three potential line-ups