Primera predictions: week 37
The Oracle suspects Sevilla could dump a fly in Real Madrid's soup on Sunday while Sporting will make a fist of Liga survival away at Eibar.
Espanyol – Valencia (Saturday 16:00) Prediction: draw
The isn’t much riding on the final game of the season in Cornellà and Espanyol have lost their last two at home, albeit against Barcelona and Atlético. Valencia have been on a poor run away from home but showed enough in the 2-1 defeat in the Bernabéu last time out to suggest the visitors can frustrate Espanyol and carve out a draw.
Osasuna – Granada (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Tony Adams said ahead of this fixture: “Our players are too happy considering the situation we’re in. they’re happy because the season is ending.” Hardly surprising given the torrid season Granada have endured, one that has reaped just four wins and none of those away from home. Under Adams the side has lost five on the bounce and scored just once; Osasuna will fancy their chances of a fourth victory in 2016-17 in El Sadar, one that would take them above Granada and spare Osasuna the humiliation of finishing the season rock bottom.
Alavés – Celta (Sunday 16:00) Prediction: home win
Celta were shattered in defeat in the Europa League semi-final at Old Trafford, where John Giudetti’s miss late on effectively ended their season. Bucking up his side after being so close to a first European final will not be an easy task for Eduardo Berizzo against the Copa del Rey finalists and Alavés will be more in the mood for this one in Menzirottza in front of their own fans for the final time before facing Barça in the Calderon in the cup final.
Athletic – Leganés (Sunday 20:00) Prediction: home win
Leganés are still not mathematically safe and could yet go down if Sporting win their two remaining games and Lega fall behind 17th-placed Depor over the next seven days. Athletic have dropped just 12 points at home this season and are neck and neck with local rivals Real Sociedad for the final Europa League berth. The Lions travel to Atlético on the final day and know they have to win this one.
Betis – Atlético (Sunday 20:00) Prediction: away win
Plenty of teams would take their foot off the pedal after being knocked out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage and with third place in the league practically assured. But that is not Diego Simeone’s style and his side are a mirror image of their ultra-competitive boss. Betis canned Víctor Sánchez after the 4-0 drubbing at Butarque and while new manager bounce is always a consideration, incoming manager Alexis Trujillo won’t be expected to much else but put up a scrap against a side who have won six and drawn one of their last seven visits to the Villamarín.
Real Madrid – Sevilla (Sunday 20:00) Prediction: draw
Jorge Sampaoli’s side have fallen off badly since the beginning of March when they were still considered a contender in the title race. A return of three wins in their last 11 and draws against Alavés, Leganés and Sporting has dented Sampaoli’s reputation a tad and the Argentinean – who may well be off at the end of the season to coach the Albiceleste – will be eager to repeat his trick of beating Real 2-1, as his side did in the Sánchez Pizjuán in the return fixture. Real can afford one slip-up as seven points from the nine they have on the table will secure the title and given Zinedine Zidane’s proclivity for rotation, a Sampaoli tactical master class could see Sevilla profit in the Bernabéu as they seek to shore up fourth place themselves.
Real Sociedad – Málaga (Sunday 20:00) Prediction: home win
Málaga have been exceptional at homer under Míchel since the former Spain midfielder took over from El Gato Romero in March, knocking off Barça, Valencia, Sevilla and Celta in successive fixtures. Away from La Rosaleda Míchel has profited from an amenable schedule, beating Granada and Sporting and picking up a point in Leganés. Real Sociedad at home is a different prospect though and given the position Eusebio’s side find themselves in after briefly threatening to bother the top four, Sociedad know they have no margin for error.
Las Palmas – Barcelona (Sunday 20:00) Prediction: away win
A promising season for Las Palmas has disintegrated spectacularly. First Quique Setién said he was off at the end of the season, then the board considered sacking him after a run of six defeats in eight saw the side slump to the lower reaches of La Liga. Setién said ahead of the visit of Barcelona that the side owed the fans a debt in the final home game of the season and he wasn’t wrong: Las Palmas have been awful for weeks and the player’s focus has completely gone. Debt or not, Atlético rattled five past Setién’s side in Gran Canaria two weeks ago and there’s little to suggest Barça won’t do something similar.
Villarreal – Deportivo (Sunday 20:00) Prediction: home win
Villarreal have a formidable home record against Depor, who are still nervously glancing over their shoulders to see what Sporting are up to. Pepe Mel’s side have a single win on the road this season, precisely against Sporting, and while that be enough to keep them up the only other points they have scored away from home have been against teams firmly outside the Liga top six.
Eibar – Sporting (Sunday 20:00) Prediction: away win
Sporting have two games left to achieve another great escape having left it until the final match last season to ensure their Primera survival. It’s probably too tall an order from their current position and they are reliant on other teams to lend them a hand but all Rubi can do to avoid saying goodbye is strive for six points. Eibar are a tough prospect at home and unlikely to roll over but Sporting might just have enough fire in their bellies to take the relegation scrap to the final day.