Hercules vs. Barcelona Spain, La Liga Matchday 21, Jos Rico Prez Stadium Alicante, Spain 1 PM EST Saturday January 29, 2011
by Jason Green, Professional Soccer Handicapper, Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Hercules 11.00 / Barcelona 1.25 / Draw 6.50
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: Hercules +1100 / Barcelona -550 / Draw +550
In matchday 21 in Spain’s La Liga Hercules plays host to first place Barcelona. In the 2nd match of the season Hercules pulled off what is still, perhaps, the biggest upset of the season in beating Barcelona 2-0 at Camp Nou, but can they repeat that win on their home turf?
Hercules has played 2 straight away matches in La Liga and they lost both failing to score a single goal. However, they have failed to lose at home in their last 4 matches and in that span they have scored 13 goals and only given up 4. This season they have scored 22 goals and given up 31 and they sit in 12th spot in the league table.
Barcelona did lose to Hercules at home early in the season, but they have yet to lose or even play to a draw on the road. Their only loss of the season in La Liga was to Hercules, as they look to repeat as champions. They are 4 points ahead of Real Madrid in the league table and this season they have scored the most goals (64) and given up the fewest (11).
Barcelona has 3 of the top 7 scorers in the league and Hercules will have to play good defense in this game. If Hercules can win this game it will keep them out of the relegation zone and give them a ton of confidence for the 2nd half of the season.
In the Copa del Rey competition Barcelona plays on Wednesday night at home where they are heavily favored against Almeria in the semifinals. They will rest some players, but most of the starters will play for the start of the match and try to get the lead so they can rest up for their Saturday match. Hercules is out of the Copa del Rey so they will be well rested for this big home match.
Hercules’ David Trezeguet and Nelson Haedo Valdez have 15 of the 22 goals for their squad this season and they will be counted on for the scoring against a stellar Barcelona defense. Valdez scored both goals in the win over Barcelona earlier this season.
Barcelona Recent Form
1/22/2011 Barcelona 3 Racing Santander 0 (La Liga)
1/19/2011 Real Betis 3 Barcelona 1 (Copa del Rey)
1/16/2011 Barcelona 4 Mlaga 1 (La Liga)
1/12/2011 Barcelona 5 Real Betis 0 (Copa del Rey)
1/8/2011 Deportivo La Corua 0 Barcelona 4 (La Liga)
Hercules Recent Form
1/24/2011 Athletic Bilbao 3 Hercules 0 (la Liga)
1/15/2011 Sporting Gijon 2 Hercules 0 (La Liga)
1/10/2011 Hercules 4 Atltico Madrid 1 (La Liga)
1/3/2011 Mallorca 3 Hercules 0 (La Liga)
12/20/2010 Racing Santander 0 Hercules 0
While stars Lionel Messi and Pedro will likely play on Wednesday night DF Carles Puyol and 2nd leading scorer Dani Alves will likely not play with minor injuries, but should play on Saturday.
For Hercules MF Royston Drenthe and F Olivier Thomert are likely out for this Saturday’s match due to injuries.
Hercules G Juan Calatayud was stellar in the first win against Barcelona with a clean sheet and making several stellar saves. Can he do it again facing Lionel Messi (19 goals), Pedro (11 goals), and Andrs Iniesta (7 goals)? Not likely. He will play well, but Messi and company will be too much for him to handle and he will not have another clean sheet.
Barcelona dominated the time of possession in the first match between these 2 teams 77% to 23% and that will happen again in this match, as Barca will dominate the midfield.
In Barcelona’s last 4 matches they have only conceded one goal. However, Hercules will be on the attack and look for the counter attack and either David Trezeguet and Nelson Haedo Valdez will score.
Jason’s Pick to Win: Hercules will put up a fight, but Barcelona simply has too much talent and they will not take the home team for granted. Their skill players up front will give them many scoring chances and unlike the first match up they will score on a few. Barcelona will win this game by a score of 3-1 or 4-1.