Las Palmas – Sociedad (Friday 20:45) Prediction: home win. Result 0-1
Las Palmas desperately need to get back on track after three straight defeats has left the Canary Islanders in the bottom half of the table and 11 points adrift of the European places. That will not be an easy task against high-flying Sociedad, who will be without top scorer Willian José but have able deputies in Carlos Vela and Juanmi. The home side are likely to ring the changes as Quique Setién seeks to rediscover a winning formula.
Alavés – Valencia (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: draw. Result 2-1
Valencia are riding the crest of a wave after beating Real Madrid in midweek to add to their triumph over Athletic last weekend, which has lifted Los Che up to 14th and provided a welcome bit of breathing space. Valencia’s away form has been sketchy all season though and Alavés have had all week to prepare for this one and are making a habit of carving out draws at the Mendizorrotza.
Betis – Sevilla (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: away win. Result 1-2
The Seville derby is always a tough one to call as for both sides it is one of the most important games of the season. That is more the case for Betis at the moment as they have the drop zone perilously close and other than ensuring their survival little cheer to offer their fans other than slapping one on the red and white side of the city. Sevilla are looking good for a Champions League place and still have title aspirations and will be too much for the Verdiblancos to handle.
Leganés – Deportivo (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: draw. Result 4-0
Not quite a six-pointer at Butarque but maybe a four-and-a-half pointer. Leganés sit in 17th on 18 points with Depor a position and a point ahead of the Cucumber Growers. Both sides are no strangers to the draw this season and given the home side’s goal-shyness – Leganés are the only club in Primera yet to reach 20 – it can be expected that keeping a clean sheet will top the to-do list in a game that has a distinct air of 0-0 about it.
Eibar – Málaga (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win. Result 3-0
Eibar are, courtesy of goal difference, currently the second-highest placed Basque side in Primera and four points off the European places. Málaga have no such designs and are more or less out of the relegation mire so it is no stretch to imagine the home side will be more up for the match after putting Valencia, Depor and Granada to the sword in recent weeks than El Gato Romero’s team, who picked up a first win since November last weekend against Las Palmas.
Espanyol – Osasuna (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: home win
Osasuna are eight points from safety and have scored a paltry 12 goals on the road this season, numbers that will have Quique Sánchez Flores rubbing his hands together as the Espanyol coach looks to further embed his side in the top 10.
Atlético – Barcelona (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: draw
Diego Simeone has never beaten Barcelona in the league and the last time Atlético got the better Sunday’s visitors, in 2010, Sánchez Flores was in the dugout. It is a statistic that will doubtless irk El Cholo and he may fancy now is his best chance, with Barça reeling from that night in Paris and struggling to knock off Leganés in Camp Nou last weekend. In the time that Simeone has been at the Calderón Barça have won this fixture by a single goal on four occasions with one draw; that should be Atlético’s minimum return against an out-of-sorts visitor.
Athletic – Granada (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Athletic suffered a Europa League shock away at Apoel in midweek and now face the task of overhauling Eibar and Villarreal to qualify for the same tournament next season. The visit of Granada is just the tonic Ernesto Valverde’s side need. The visitors haven’t won an away game all season and have scored just nine while conceding a staggering 37.
Sporting – Celta (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Celta’s midweek exertions may have some say in this game, which Sporting could well do with getting something out of. The visitors have won only twice on the road this season and have scored only two more (14) than Osasuna in 11 games outside Riazor.
Villarreal – Real Madrid (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: away win
Real Madrid suffered a setback in Mestalla but still lead the table going into week 24. Zinedine Zidane will not be keen on relinquishing that grip in El Madrigal, particularly as Barcelona may well drop points in the Calderón. Madrid weren’t terrible in Mestalla, they were just mugged by a well-prepared side who preyed on the early lapses of concentration that occasionally afflict Zidane’s side. Expect the visitors to be switched on from the word go on Sunday and a lot tighter at the back than last Wednesday.
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