Espanyol – Betis (Friday 8:45) Prediction: home win
Despite significant improvement on the pitch under Víctor Sánchez, the Spaniard has picked up fewer points on the road in seven games that his predecessor Gus Poyet did in six. Betis have been finding the net outside of the Villamarín but are defensively suspect, having kept zero clean sheets and conceded 13 under Víctor. Espanyol are still just about in the European hunt entirely because of home form; Quique Sánchez Flores’ side have won six of their last eight in Cornellà.
Villarreal – Eibar (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: home win
Eibar are flying high and dreaming of Europe with only seven points separating the hosts and the visitors in the Céramica. The same number of points divide Villarreal and Atlético, who hold the Champions League playoff spot, and in all likelihood the Submarine will have to navigate the testy waters of the Europa League next season. Given Eibar’s away record (three wins from 13) and Villarreal’s at home (eight wins from 14) it’s unlikely Eibar will move any closer to their goal or Villarreal will slip further back in the Champions League chase.
Osasuna – Athletic (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: away win
Maths and the Oracle are not easy bedfellows but even so, we make it 10 games left to play, with 30 points up for grabs. Osasuna are 15 points from safety, so they would have to average 1.5 points per game simply to draw level with Leganés in 17th from their current position. It might be better for Osasuna to be put out of their misery as quickly as possible so they can start planning for Segunda and looking forward to not getting beaten every weekend. Athletic can help them out with that in El Sadar.
Real Sociedad – Leganés (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Real Sociedad will be without Asier Illarramendi and Carlos Vela on Saturday and have stumbled lately at home, picking up just one point from their last three while kissing goodbye to any realistic chance of Champions League qualification in the process. However, with local rivals Athletic breathing down their neck after inflicting the most recent of those Sociedad have little room for error if they want European football next season and should make no mistake against a Leganés side who have been playing well in recent weeks but not quite picking up the points they need.
Málaga – Atlético (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: Prediction: away win
Remember when Atlético were playing like Brazil and sticking four past Celta, five past Sporting and seven past Granada? Us neither. Diego Simeone’s side have been no strangers to the 1-0 since then and having correctly predicted that score line on their last away day in Granada, we’re pretty confident it’ll be the same again as Atleti eventually find a way through a Málaga brick wall that Míchel will design to avoid defeat. The last five scores from this fixture are 1-0, 2-2, 0-1, 0-0, 0-0.
Sevilla – Sporting (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: home win
Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli effectively ruled out a title bid after a heavy defeat at the Calderón and he will be without Stevan Jovetic, Adil Rami and Gabriel Mercado in Sunday’s early kick-off. However, Sevilla’s home record is imposing – 10 wins, two draws and one loss – and it will be a major surprise if Sporting, with one win on the road and an average of 0.78 goals per game beyond El Molinón leave the Sánchez Pizjuán with anything.
Real Madrid – Alavés (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: home win
Alavés are enjoying a fine first season back in the big time and have already comfortably secured another while claiming a few notable scalps. Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have also won three of their last four away from home but as they showed against Barcelona in February in a 6-0 loss the occasion retains the ability to get the better of a squad valued at 40 million euros less than Cristiano Ronaldo alone. Real won the return fixture 4-1 and a similar score line shouldn’t be ruled out in the Bernabéu.
Valencia – Deportivo (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: draw
Both Valencia and Depor are capable of beating anyone on their day – Real Madrid and Barcelona serving as recent examples respectively – but equally susceptible to getting thumped by teams around and below them in the table. Depor have picked up just eight points on the road this season and scored 12 goals, while Valencia have scored the same number at home – 19 – as they have away.
Granada – Barcelona (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: away win
Barcelona will be without the suspended Leo Messi for the trip to Los Cármenes while Neymar and Luis Suárez have been on international duty in the Conmebol qualifiers and have little time to regroup in Barcelona. That said, the visitors should have too much firepower for the hosts: Barça have scored 81 this season and Granada have conceded 58.
Celta – Las Palmas (Monday 20:45) Prediction: home win
Only one side – Granada - have picked up fewer points away from home this season than Las Palmas, who have managed just six on the road, the same number as rock-bottom Osasuna. Quique Setién’s announcement that he is off at the end of the season might have been timed in an attempt to galvanize a flagging squad and it worked to an extent in their last match, a 1-0 home win over Villarreal. Celta have been in good form at home, scoring three or more on five occasions on their way to eight wins from 13 and will look to add to that haul against a side without an away win since last August.
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