Sporting – Espanyol (Tuesday 19:30) Prediction: home win
If Sporting have any chance of staying up they need to start winning games and fast – Leganés are far from outside touching distance. A 2-2 draw against fellow relegation strugglers Osasuna did neither side any favours at the weekend and Espanyol’s recent away form should serve to give the home side a glimmer of hope. Sporting will struggle without Moi Gómez but they could sneak a win in El Molinón against a side with little left to play for themselves.
Granada – Málaga (Tuesday 20:30) Prediction: draw
Precisely the same applies to Granada and you'd have thought Tony “1-0 to the Arsenal” Adams would at least have sorted out the back line during his time at the club. Now in the hot seat himself, it is unlikely “El Burro” was ordered to keep Granada up to safeguard his job. Even if he was managing the Invincibles of 2003-04 Adams would struggle to do that from Granada’s current position and although the Nazaríes are probably Segunda fodder already, we fancy them to pick up a point here.
Atlético – Villarreal (Tuesday 21:30) Prediction: home win
Atlético’s record in the second half of the season has been solid to say the least: 17 games, 12 wins, four draws and just one defeat, against Barcelona. At home, Diego Simeone’s side have failed to win just four times in 16 games but this one pits Atleti against the meanest away defence in the division: Villarreal have conceded just 10 on the road in 16 games while Atlético hold the same distinction in the Calderón, with just 12 goals against. It may not be a classic but the home side are heavy favourites and the old 1-0 that has served them so well this season might be where the smart money is laid.
Barcelona – Osasuna (Wednesday 19:30) Prediction: home win
Osasuna will be mathematically relegated to Segunda if the Navarrese side are beaten in Camp Nou and Leganés win in Butarque. While the latter is far from guaranteed, the former is a case of borrowing the mortgage for a couple of hours. The only question is how many Barcelona will knock past the league’s worst defence.
Valencia – Real Sociedad (Wednesday 20:30) Prediction: draw
This one really could go either way and after Valencia reverted to pre-Voro type in La Rosaleda we'd be loath to back them against a La Real side chasing European football. Our recommendation would be to avoid this coupon-buster altogether but the bizarre statistic of Sociedad having failed to draw a game on the road this season after 16 fixtures (eight wins and eight draws) looks a mildly tempting punt on two sides who have managed one goal between them in 270 combined minutes of football going into the Mestalla.
Leganés – Las Palmas (Wednesday 20:30) Prediction: home win
Leganés can condemn Osasuna to the dark night of Segunda with a win over Las Palmas and take a huge step towards survival by reaching a 30-point mark that should prove enough this season. Against a visiting side who have unilaterally declared the season over in April and sit 19th in the away table, Leganés may well do just that.
Deportivo – Real Madrid (Wednesday 21:30) Prediction: away win
Lighting never strikes twice, the saying goes, but after Barcelona sowed the seeds of doubt in the erstwhile leaders, Depor can add some water in Riazor against a visiting side extremely short at the back. However, Real will probably nick it 2-1. As they do.
Alavés – Eibar (Thursday 19:30) Prediction: home win
There have been more Basque derbies this season than you can shake an Ikurriña at and while Monday night's between Eibar and Athletic failed to live up to expectations, Alavés and Eibar could put on a show in Mendizorrotza. Neither side has anything to lose and nothing much to gain apart from local pride in a fixture that has reaped 35 home wins, 36 draws and 29 away successes down the years. Eibar’s injury list and Pedro León’s ban should tip the balance towards the home side this time.
Sevilla – Celta (Thursday 20:30) Prediction: home win
Both sides at the Sánchez Pizjuán have European aspirations but only Celta’s are immediate and you'd fancy Eduardo Berizzo to keep a few of his big guns out of the firing line for this one ahead of the Europa League semi-final first leg against Manchester United next week. That combined with Sevilla’s imposing home form (won 12, drawn three, lost one) should ensure a home win.
Athletic – Betis (Thursday 21:30) Prediction: home win
Athletic beat Eibar in extremis to maintain their one-point advantage over local rivals Sociedad in the hunt for a Europa League place and with Villarreal facing Atlético in the Calderón this is a golden chance to move up to fifth against a Betis side that have shipped 32 on the road and won just twice in their last 10 away fixtures. A full-strength Athletic should be backed to the hilt to make no mistake against Víctor’s side, who have managed just one clean sheet outside the Villamarín all season.
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