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Primera predictions: week 27

AS English looks into its crystal ball as the Spanish top flight serves up a round of midweek action.

TOPSHOT - Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R bottom) celebrates a goal with teammate Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (R top) as Barcelona's defender Jordi Alba approaches during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelo

Atlético (2) - Real Sociedad (9) Prediction: home win

Atlético applied the coup de grâce to noisy neighbours Real Madrid's title challenge last weekend and are now the only team left in the league with an outside chance of preventing another Liga heading to Camp Nou. Other than a bizarre 5-1 thrashing at El Molinón a few weeks ago La Real have been in decent form since Disco David Moyes packed his bags but Atlético have been beaten only once at home this season, by the league leaders, and there won't be too many euros flying around on Eusebio's side doing the same.

Atlético Madrid's Antoine Griezmann celebrates his winner in Saturday's derby against Real.
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Atlético Madrid's Antoine Griezmann celebrates his winner in Saturday's derby against Real.JESUS AGUILERADIARIO AS

Las Palmas (17) - Getafe (15) Prediction: home win

Las Palmas picked up their first away win of the season at the weekend but if the Canary Islanders are to escape the drop it will be on the back of their home form: Sevilla, Celta and Real Sociedad have all left Gran Canaria empty-handed and Barcelona struggled to break down a well-organized side on their own turf. Getafe are not the same on the road as with the Coliseum's "12th man" behind them and have managed just one three-point haul away so far.

Athletic (7) - Deportivo (10) Prediction: home win

At some point Athletic's thin squad has to buckle under the pressure of a season that began competitvely in July. However, Ernesto Valverde has almost his full complement available at the moment and Athletic carved Valencia's back line apart in a matter of minutes at the weekend. Depor are no mugs on the road, having been beaten just three times this season away from Riazor, but Aritz Aduriz is playing his way into the Spain squad for the Euros and with Raul García, Iñaki Williams and Iker Muniain in support, the Basque Van Basten should be too hot for Depor to handle in San Mamés.

Aritz Aduriz rounded off the scoring in Athletic Club's 3-0 victory over Valencia at the weekend.
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Aritz Aduriz rounded off the scoring in Athletic Club's 3-0 victory over Valencia at the weekend.DAVID GONZALEZDIARIO AS

Celta (5) - Villarreal (4) Prediction: draw

Celta finally have their attacking triumvirate of Nolito, Fabio Orellana and Iago Aspas back together and that was enough to see them past the post at Getafe last weekend. Villarreal though do not concede many and have their own armoury, Leo Baptistão, Samu Castillejo and Adrián combining to shoot down Levante in the last round while Cédric Bakambu and Roberto Soldado popped their feet up in the dugout. This will either be 4-3 or 0-0. As my old gran used to say, when in doubt, pop a Gold Label and back the draw. She never won the pools either, mind.

Sevilla (6) - Eibar (8) Prediction: home win

Sevilla are now the only side remaining in La Liga without an away win to their name, yet they still sit in sixth. Unai Emery's side also stand alone in not having shared the points in the Sánchez Pizjuán all season. Sevilla still have two routes left into Europe next season but Emery will prefer the Liga one and Eibar, a direct challenger for the final Europa League slot, will have to pull something very special out of the hat to deny the hosts a 12th home win of the season.

Málaga (11) - Valencia (12) Prediction: home win

Valencia are apparently going to offer Gary Neville a new contract before the end of the season, but Peter Lim and co. would be advised to wait until the outcome of the next four games: after Málaga, Valencia play Atlético (h), 20th-placed Levante in the city derby (a), Celta (h) and Las Palmas (a). Two points from that lot is not inconceivable and seeing Valencia's defence disentegrate against Athletic at the weekend, even that may be optimistic. The Nevolution is being televised, week by painful week, and Málaga, fresh from downing La Real away at the weekend, will be rubbing their hands together at the prospect of this one.

Levante (20) - Real Madrid (3) Prediction: draw

Real Madrid travel to fellow strugglers Levante in desperate need of a lift after watching the title torn from their grasp yet again, and by Atlético to boot. The problem is that Zinedine Zidane's side don't seem to like it up 'em, having been suitably rattled by Atlético, Betis and Granada going toe-to-toe with the Galacticos. Levante are not a side to be awed by the visitors and although The Frogs are propping up the table, they're leaders in terms of names in the book. Levante have picked up 15 of their 20 points at home and a dispirited Real are ripe for the plucking in the Cuitat de Valencia, where a ferocious rearguard action awaits Cristiano Ronaldo and company.

Defeat to city rivals Atlético in week 26 sounded the death knell on Real Madrid's title aspirations.
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Defeat to city rivals Atlético in week 26 sounded the death knell on Real Madrid's title aspirations.FELIPE SEVILLANODIARIO AS

Granada (19) - Sporting (18) Prediction: home win

The six-pointer to end all six-pointers. Granada picked up a precious away win in Riazor last weekend while Sporting were thumped 4-2 at home by Espanyol. It's tighter than a duck's backside at the bottom and both sides desperately need victory from this one. Granada will bet the farm on the attacking wiles of Youssef El Arabi, Isaac Success and Adalberto Peñaranda to see off Sporting in Los Cármenes, where victory for the home side could lift them out of the relegation zone for the first time in five weeks.

Espanyol (14) - Betis (13) Prediction: home win

Espanyol are on fire by their standards, recording back-to-back victories for the first time since September in El Molinón. Betis, meanwhile, have won only one game since the end of November -- and that was against Valencia. Both side are level on 28 points but Espanyol are looking up rather than down. The relegation mire is just four points behind and Betis are in the gutter, looking at their summer star acquisitions for inspiration. At the moment it is utterly lacking and Pepe Mel's sacking is looking more and more kneejerk with every fresh setback. Another awaits Juan Merino's mob in Cornellà.

Rayo (16) - Barcelona (1) Prediction: away win

Will Barça's samba boys break out their Rayo dance in Vallecas again, or will the side that achieved international fame in 2013 by being the first to have more of the ball than Barça for 136 league games spring the surprise of the week? Paco Jémez will remain true to his all-out approach when the league leaders alight in the working class barrio of the capital, and will probably get handed his culé on a plate: the result in that momentous match on a sun-drenched September afternoon in the Vallecas Stadium was 4-0 to the visitors


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