Las Palmas – Deportivo (Friday 20:45) Prediction: home win. Result 1-1
Las Palmas will have to do without the suspended KPB this weekend but are clear favourites to capitalize on Depor’s dislike of playing away from Riazor. Four draws on the road are all Gaizka Garitano’s have to show for their travels and although they can score just fine, the back line is flimsier than President Trump’s views on climate change. Las Palmas are unbeaten at home and should do the job with minimal fuss in the balmy islands.
Espanyol – Granada (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: draw. Result 3-1
Granada’s 1-1 draw with Osasuna last weekend was of slightly more benefit to the visitors, if only because they remained a single point ahead of the basement side. That point in El Sadar took Granada’s tally away from home to a paltry three but Espanyol blow hot and cold in Cornellà and have racked up a division-high five draws on their home turf this season. If Granada are to survive, this is the kind of game they need to make a point in.
Real Madrid – Málaga (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win. Result 2-1
Lightning never strikes twice, the old saying goes, but it has for Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane’s 40-game unbeaten streak was broken by Sevilla and then compounded by defeat in the Copa at the hands of Celta. Málaga’s away record of zero wins doesn’t exactly bode well for Gato Romero’side and while the betting on a home win will be heavy, the visitors will ensure that Zidane’s side do not make light work of it.
Alavés – Leganés (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: draw. Result 2-2
Alavés are on a bit of a roll. A 2-0 victory in Alcorcón more or less booked a Copa semi-final in midweek and in recent weeks the home side have held Athletic and Eibar and beaten Betis, keeping three clean sheets in the process. Leganés are the division’s joint-lowest scorers on the road with six and while Alavés are distracted by a golden opportunity to get boshed by a big boy in the Copa’s ridiculous two-leg system at the last four stage, Leganés will be happy to nick a point from Mendizorrotza.
Villarreal – Valencia (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win. Result 0-2
The regional grudge match finds the Yellow Submarine chugging along nicely in the millpond at the top of La Liga while Valencia are flailing about in 17th with the only lifejacket being the fact that Sporting, Granada and Osasuna have considerably fewer resources than Los Che. A victory last weekend over Espanyol will have buoyed the visitors but Villarreal will be more than eager to remind Voro’s side who the local big guns are in El Madrigal.
Osasuna – Sevilla (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: away win
Having done the hard work last weekend in beating the apparently unbeatable Real Madrid, Jorge Sampaoli now has to bring his men back down to earth for a trip to Pamplona. Bloodying the nose of the school bully is all well and good, but that has to be backed up by also flooring the opportunist aiming a kick from behind at your janglers. Osasuna’s only real hope is to hope Sevilla suffer in the absence of Vitolo and Joaquín Correa but in reality Sampaoli has far too much talent at his disposal to be tripped up by a side that have yet to win a league game at home.
Athletic – Atlético (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: draw
This is a game to be played to the strains of Ennio Morricone’s landmark The good, the Bad and the Ugly theme, Diego Simeone and Ernesto Valverde’s eyes narrowing to slits as they consider drawing first, only to leave the iron firmly in the holster as they take cautious backward steps. Atleti need to hand some players a rest with games coming thick and fast while Athletic are without big guns Beñat and Aritz Aduriz. The home side have scored just twice in their last four games and will be keen to avoid defeat. Atlético have proved themselves perfectly capable of some utter dross on the road and can’t be relied upon to put in two decent performances in a row. This could be more Duck, You Sucker than a fistful of goals.
Betis – Sporting (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Betis have been goal-shy this season, scoring fewer at home than Valencia, Sporting and Depor. However, it’s hard to see a Sporting side that have managed just two points and seven goals on the road recovering from the blow of losing much-loved coach Abelardo to dent Betis’ armour after Víctor’s recent run of three wins and a draw in the Villamarín. Rubi may well turn the tide at Sporting in time but for a side who have lost seven of nine on the road Betis are at very short odds here.
Real Sociedad – Celta (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: draw
Sociedad almost extended their Anoeta hoodoo over Barcelona in the cup, going down 1-0 via a Neymar penalty to leave the tie very much alive ahead of next week’s return leg. The visit of Celta could hardly be worse-timed from Eusebio’s point of view. The La Real coach will be missing one of the league’s top recovery makers in Asier Illarramendi through suspension while he will have to shuffle the rest of his pack a bit. Celta face similar concerns with Real Madrid on the ropes ahead of the Copa return and both sides could be forgiven for prioritizing a chance to reach the semis over a league match when both have their feet up comfortably in the top 10.
Eibar – Barcelona (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: draw
Eibar’s resources have been stretched to breaking point after a deep run in the cup and that came to a juddering halt at the Calderón on Thursday as Atlético put three past the Basques. José Luis Mendilibar was honest enough to admit that hauling that scoreline back was not very likely but he can endear himself even further to the Armeros faithful by taking advantage of Barça’s distraction to nullify the visitors’ firepower on the singular stage of Ipurua. Sevilla have been held and Valencia, Real Sociedad, Villarreal, Celta and Betis beaten this season at the 6,300-seater stadium. Sociedad, Celta and Villarreal have thwarted Barça on the road. An X might just mark the spot.