AS English LaLiga predictions: 2017/18 week 38
One last throw of the dice for the AS Oracle to save his reputation on the final weekend of the season. Will he be off to the Bahamas or Bognor this summer?
Celta – Levante (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: draw
Levante have been rocking under Paco López and thumped five past Barça last weekend but Iago Aspas has one game left to strengthen his case for a place on the place to Russia so a lively score draw may be on the cards in Balaídos.
Leganés – Betis (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: away win
Betis have ensured European football next season and will finish above city rivals Sevilla in the league so Quique Setién can consider the season a success. For Leganés just staying up represents a job well done and although the Cucumber Growers will want to put on a show for the Butarque faithful, if they try and go toe-to-toe with Betis there’s only going to be one outcome.
Las Palmas – Girona (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: away win
Girona can still finish in the top 10 with victory against a rotten Las Palmas side but have managed three points just once in their last nine themselves. It’s difficult to see the home side finally putting together a display worthy of their soon-to-be revoked Primera status though and Girona can finish with a bang in the Canaries, and then head to the beach afterwards. They’ll find Paco Jémez’s side already there, Las Palmas having snagged all the sun loungers several weeks ago.
Málaga – Getafe (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: away win
Much the same is true of Málaga, where the finger pointing has begun in earnest after what can only be described as a complete bloody shambles of a season. Geta may have missed out on their European dream but they are more than capable on ending on a high by knocking off José González’s side, which is the Primera equivalent of shooting Anchovies in a barrel this season.
Sevilla – Alavés (Saturday 16:30) Prediction: home win
Joaquín Caparrós has transformed Sevilla in three weeks, if the man himself is to believed mostly on the basis of examining his players balls and eyes. Or the other way around. We think they call that old school management. In any case, Caparrós is one of a generation of managers with a mildly disturbing testicular fixation and although Abelardo’s thoughts on the subject remain known only to Abelardo, even his rescue job at Alavés won’t hold up under the steely glare of Caparrós and his freshly unbeatable Europa League-bound side.
Villarreal – Real Madrid (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: draw
Real are fortunate results have gone their way and Villarreal have nothing to play for after ensuring Europa League football next season. Zinedine Zidane’s side have the small matter of the Champions League final to consider and may be tempted to tip-toe around this one while the Submarine are also intending to rest a few players at risk of suspension with an eye already on next season. This could be 90 minutes of: “After you…,” “No, I insist, after you…” With a few goals.
Valencia – Deportivo (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: home win
Valencia have secured Champions League football for next season even if the pressure in recent weeks has told on Los Che, a 1-0 win away at Girona last weekend snapping a five game winless streak. Marcelino’s men haven’t scored more than once since March 17 but expect that to change in a fiesta atmosphere at the venerable Mestalla stadium against a Depor side who know where the onion bag is but can’t defend and will want to go out with as much style as they can muster.
Athletic – Espanyol (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: home win
It’s been an awful season for the Lions and we will confess that we hold a bit of a soft spot for the club and have been backing them to win for weeks based more on hope than anything else. On Sunday though, Cuco Ziganda’s final game in charge, the light at the end of the tunnel may be enough to coax a performance out of a side who are much better than their current 16th position in the table, but who have been rudderless this season with Ziganda, through no fault of his own, completely out of his depth after six years in charge of the reserves.
Atlético – Eibar (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Atlético seem to have a penchant for the old 1-0 win but after winning the Europa League, taking into account it’s Fernando Torres’ last game (and possibly Antoine Griezmann’s) and there’ll be a party spirit at the Metropolitano we rather fancy Eibar are going to get a hiding.
Barcelona – Real Sociedad (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: home win
See above. Cheerio Andrés, the parading of a couple of bits of silverware and Leo Messi rested and keen to rubber-stamp his Golden Boot and Pichichi gongs with a couple to round things off and Sociedad are basically just there for the ride, which may be a rough one if a full-strength Barcelona are in the mood to light up Camp Nou for their departing captain.
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