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Granada – Betis (Friday 20:45) Prediction: draw
Granada don’t have too many rounds left in the magazine in their bid for survival and were on the wrong end of a 4-0 drubbing at Ipurua last weekend. Lucas Alcaraz will be eager to wash that away as quickly as possible and the visit of Betis, who haven’t won on the road since October, is the sort of game Granada need to get something out of if they are to give themselves a chance of staying up.
Sporting – Atlético (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: away win
Sporting threw themselves a lifeline last weekend in Madrid with a 2-0 victory at Leganés with on-loan Real Madrid striker Burgui among the goals. Back at El Molinón, Sporting have only won once since mid-September and may find themselves up against it when Atlético visit. Diego Simeone’s side have been dropping points left, right and centre away from the Calderón this season but Atlético should be too strong for the division’s third-leakiest defence after plundering five goals in their last two Liga outings.
Real Madrid – Espanyol (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win
Real Madrid have recovered from the January blues and took a huge step towards the Champions League quarter-finals in midweek. Zinedine Zidane is likely to rotate on Saturday but should be able to hand Gareth Bale some time following the Welshman’s return from injury. With a full complement of payers at his disposal, other than the injured Sergio Ramos, the home side are heavy favourites against Espanyol, who haven’t won in the Bernabéu since 1996.
Deportivo – Alavés (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: draw
Deportivo managed a staggering 17 draws last season and are on their way to matching that total with seven so far in 22 games. Most of those have come away from home and in Riazor Depor have picked up 14 of their 19 points to date. Alavés remain more potent on the road than at the Mendizorrotza and are quite capable of holding the home side to a stalemate.
Sevilla – Eibar (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Eibar are on a bit of a roll having won their last three while stuffing four past Granada and Valencia without conceding. The Sánchez Pizjuán will prove a timely litmus test of the Basque side’s European ambitions and Jorge Sampaoli will be keen to returning to winning ways after dropping points in two of his last three games. There could be a few goals on Saturday night but Sevilla should edge it given their greater firepower and home advantage.
Real Sociedad – Villarreal (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: home win
Villarreal have dropped off a bit since the turn of the year, winning just one game so far in 2017. More than credible draws against Barcelona and Sevilla provide some mitigation but the Submarine need not lose this one if La Real are not to put eight points between the sides on Sunday lunchtime. Real have been excellent at home this season and although the visitors have a rare clean bill of health the home side will take some shifting from their lofty position and know they have to go all out in games like this to ensure European football next season. Villarreal’s 4-0 shellacking by Roma in the Europa League was hardly ideal preparation.
Valencia – Athletic (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: draw
Suddenly every game has become a must-win for Valencia, who are dangerously close to the drop zone and have not won in their last three. Athletic had a gruelling Thursday night fixture in Belgium and may be happy enough to settle for shared points with the return leg next week in Cyprus finely poised. Valencia will huff and puff, but without Santi Mina and Rodrigo lack a little goal threat in this one.
Celta – Osasuna (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Celta have had a pretty dispiriting couple of weeks, going out of the Copa del Rey in a tie they were broadly expected to win and now facing the same threat in Europe after being beaten 1-0 in Balaídos by Shakhtar. A convincing victory would go some way to putting some fizz back into Celta’s season and there are few more compliant teams than Osasuna, who have won just one game in LaLiga all season, on October 17.
Barcelona – Leganés (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Barcelona are not going to be happy after being spanked by PSG in midweek and Leganés could be on the receiving end of some claret and blue wrath in Camp Nou as the home side look to recover some sense of themselves after an abject showing in Paris. The visitors will be purely on damage control detail given their league position and it’s up to the home side to find a way through what will probably be a five at the back affair from the Madrid side. In the return fixture Barça scored five and they stuck six past Alavés last weekend.
Málaga – Las Palmas (Monday 20:45) Prediction: draw
Las Palmas haven’t won an away game since the first of their season at Mestalla in August and have picked up just two more points since then and scored only once on the road since mid-November. Málaga are not in buoyant form under El Gato Romero and lost their two home games since the new coach came in to nil. Honours even will probably suit both nicely.
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