Primera predictions: LaLiga Santander 2018-19 week 34
Barcelona could be crowned champions should the Catalan side overcome Alavés and Atlético fail to beat Valencia at the Wanda Metropolitano.
There are just four games to go in the current LaLiga Santander season and with places for Europe still on the line, Barça close to retaining their title and at least seven sides battling to avoid the drop to Segunda, every game in this midweek round of fixtures has something at stake.
Huesca-Eibar (Tuesday 19:30) Prediction: home win
Huesca's draw on Saturday away to Rayo did few favours for the side currently propping up the table and anything less than a win tonight at the Estadio Alcoraz, whilst not mathematically condemning the men from Aragón, would require a miracle of Herculean proportions for the Ocenses not to make a direct return to the Spanish second tier. Tonight's rivals Eibar are one of the few teams in no-man's land with thoughts very firmly focused on flip-flops and Pina Coladas.
Valladolid - Girona (Tuesday 20:30) Prediction: home win
Two of LaLiga's most poorly performing sides currently come face to face at the Estadio José Zorilla with Valladolid the needier of two. The 'blanqui-violetas' currently occupy the final relegation place and will be desperate to avoid the drop in Ronaldo's first season as new owner. Visitors Girona go into the game on the back of five straight defeats and are very much in the relegation quagmire too. Not a game for the purists!
Alavés - FC Barcelona (Tuesday 21:30) Prediction: away win
The wheels have come off at Mendizorroza for the Basque side. The early season surprise package have run out of gas and the impact of selling Ibai Gómez, rumours rife that manager Abelardo is refusing to stay on next season and ongoing fan discontent with LaLiga and club management have combined to see initial optimism evaporate in Vitoria. A Barça win tonight, coupled with Atleti failing to beat Valencia this mid-week would see Valverde's men crowned LaLiga champions.
Atlético - Valencia (Wednesday 19:30) Prediction: home win
Valencia have been the success story in the latter half of the current LaLiga Santander campaign. Celebrating their centenary, Los Che are in the final of the Copa del Rey where the will face Barça and are also in the mix for a Europa League final berth with Premier League outfit Arsenal their semi-final opponents. Despite four wins on the bounce for Marcelino's men, the Wanda Metropolitano is a notoriously difficult ground for away sides with city rivals Real Madrid being the only team to secure maximum points at the new stadium this season.
Leganés - Athletic (Wednesday 20:30) Prediction: draw
Leganés are, along with Real Sociedad, Espanyol and Eibar, one of the few teams who have in truth little but pride to play for in the remaining LaLiga fixtures. The Cucumber Growers' objective of maintaining top flight status has been achieved but the side from Butarque will be no pushover for Europa League place chasers Athletic, with Mauricio Pelligrino's side succumbing to just two home defeats throughout the 2018-19 season.
Espanyol - Celta (Wednesday 20:30) Prediction: draw
They say football is a team game but in Vigo fans will tell you that this not the case and the current Celta side is all about one individual... a certain Iago Aspas Juncal. The Galician side's turnaround since the striker's return to the team from injury is nothing short of remarkable and his goals, assists and more importantly his presence have been fundamental in taking Celta from relegation certs to a side with a positive trajectory.
Levante - Betis (Wednesday 21:30) Prediction: home win
"Quique vete ya! [Quique go now!]" was the chant from Real Betis fans on Sunday night with the disillusioned Benito Villamarín faithful - not for the first time this season - calling for then head of the first team coach. Setién maintains his side have an outside chance of a European place. More likely is the possibility of Levante making a return to Segunda with the Valencia-based outfit in freefall having picked up just four points from a possible 27 in their past nine LaLiga games.
Sevilla - Rayo Vallecano (Thursday 19:30) Prediction: home win
Many neutrals will be disappointed to see a return to the Segunda for Rayo and the side from the working class Madrid suburb did their slender dreams of salvation no favours with a home stalemate against Huesca on Saturday. A run of games against fellow strugglers Levante, Valladolid and Celta may be academic if Paco Jémez's side fail to take anything from a tricky trip to the Andalusian capital, where Sevilla will want to get their fourth-place aspirations back on track after Sunday's defeat at Getafe.
Real Sociedad - Villarreal (Thursday 20:30) Prediction: draw
With two wins in their past three league games Villarreal, whilst still not out of relegation danger zone, can face the final five fixtures at least knowing that their destiny is very much in their own hands. The side deemed by many observers as 'too good to go down' can now fully pay attention to the domestic battle for survival after recent Europa League elimination to their Mediterranean neighbours Valencia CF. Real Sociedad are in 'off-mode' already.
Getafe - Real Madrid (Thursday 21:30) Prediction: draw
Will there ever be a better time for Getafe to face the giants from the Bernabéu? Real Madrid are in a state of flux with more focus on which players will make the cut for new coach Zinedine Zidane in a LaLiga version of Madrid's Got Talent as the French coach assesses the composition of his 2019-20 squad. Getafe are in a Champions League position – yes, you read that correctly - and credit to this feat surely must go to coach Jose Bordálas who has taken the Azulones from the lower reaches of Segunda to the gates of Europe's most prestigious club competition.
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