Primera predictions: week 38
The Oracle has one last chance to salvage some pride after a season to match Osasuna's and foresees wins for the title challengers and woe for Athletic.
Granada – Espanyol (Friday 20:45) Prediction: away win
Comedy is all about timing and Tony Adams’s claims that Arséne Wenger would feel threatened by his presence “to organize the back four” at Arsenal were accompanied by a deafening rim shot. Adams has overseen six consecutive defeats at Granada and his side have conceded 15 goals in that time. Espanyol have nothing to play for but even at half steam they’ll walk this.
Sporting – Betis (Saturday 17:00) Prediction: draw
Sporting’s valiant late-season revival proved in vain as results elsewhere condemned them to Segunda last weekend despite back-to-back victories for the first time since January 2016. Betis have been mostly awful this season and will look to rebuild in the summer under new boss Alexis Trujillo. In the meantime this has all the ingredients for a cold dish of bore draw.
Deportivo – Las Palmas (Saturday 19:00) Prediction: home win
Deportivo stayed up by the seat of their pants this season and Riazor will be in buoyant mood for the visit of Las Palmas. It’s hardly a throwback to Super Depor but the relief of survival should draw a swashbuckling home display against a side who have looked far from bothered in recent weeks.
Leganés – Alavés (Saturday 19:00) Prediction: home win
There are two questions conditioning the game in Butarque: will Mauricio Pellegrino rest a raft of key men ahead of the Copa del Rey final? And will Leganés approach it as a testimonial to survival with Betis and 15th place beyond reach or go all out for a final day win? In all probability Alavés will tip-toe through their final Liga game and the Cucumber Growers have no reason to err on the side of caution.
Sevilla – Osasuna (Saturday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Sevilla are in the Champions League next season and Osasuna in Segunda so on paper this is straightforward unless Jorge Sampaoli uses the game to hand out some debuts or try out a fancy new formation with no central defenders or goalkeeper.
Atlético – Athletic (Sunday 16:45) Prediction: home win
The first of the Europa League deciders and Athletic have pulled the shortest straw. Sunday’s game is the last time Atlético will take to the pitch at the crumbling Calderón and there is absolutely no chance that Diego Simeone will allow anything other than victory to mark the occasion. Athletic may also be distracted by what is sure to be a party atmosphere and their away form has been rotten this season. Only Leganés and Granada have scored fewer on the road than The Lions.
Celta – Real Sociedad (Sunday 16:45) Prediction: away win
Celta, understandably, have lost their stomach for 2016-17 and with La Real in the hunt for an automatic qualifying place for the Europa League – with the added incentive of denying one to arch-rivals Athletic – the away win looks likely in Balaídos.
Valencia – Villarreal (Sunday 16:45) Prediction: draw
Villarreal are also in the mix for direct access to Uefa’s ugly sister competition and although Valencia have nothing but 11th place to spur them on in Mestalla Voro’s side have won consecutive games and will want to finish another disappointing season on a positive note in the Mestalla. Seventh may be good enough for a playoff place if Barcelona win the Copa final but with the Submarine in fifth it will be a blow to have to go through the qualifiers. A draw may do it and we rather fancy that’s what Fran Escribá’s side will get.
Barcelona – Eibar (Sunday 20:00) Prediction: home win
The maths at the top are pretty simple. Barcelona have to win at home and hope that Málaga beat Real Madrid to claim the title. Luis Enrique’s side can’t do anything about the latter but they’ll certainly make sure they do their half of the job in Camp Nou.
Málaga – Real Madrid (Sunday 20:00) Prediction: away win
A point will be enough for Madrid to secure a first title since 2011-12 and although in some quarters Míchel has come under scrutiny for his links to the Bernabéu, the former midfielder left the club under a cloud in 2007 and would probably like nothing more to do something unpleasant on Real’s patatas bravas. Will Madrid let their grip on the title slip with 90 minutes between them and glory? Málaga have beaten Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia and Celta at home in their last four but we fancy that Madrid, at almost full strength and firing in recent weeks, will reach the finish line with a bit to spare.
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