Primera predictions: LaLiga 2018-19 week 37
In the penultimate round of Liga fixtures the European places and the final relegation spot are the main points of interest as the top three don the old flip-flops.
All kick-offs at 18:30 CEST
Betis – Huesca: Prediction home win
Quique Setién’s last home game of the season in charge of Betis may prove to be his last full stop with the Villamarín fans increasingly mutinous and his side prone to more-than-occasional debacles. Simply put, fail to beat bottom side Huesca, who are already relegated, at home and that’s that for Quique.
Villarreal – Eibar: Prediction home win
The form book was thrown out of this season's window last Autumn and few would have predicted Villarreal would be in a European quarter-final and then scrapping for survival with two games left. In all likelihood they’ve done enough to ensure 2019-20 in Primera, but beating already-safe Eibar will finish the job.
Rayo – Valladolid: Prediction away win
Rayo have fought valiantly all season but fell agonisingly short of retaining their hard-won Primera status, a couple of unfortunate results here and there – Barça will not remember Vallecas fondly but escaped with three points - ultimately condemning them to a swift return to the long night of Segunda. Valladolid can still join them and have Valencia on the final day so will go all-out here.
Valencia – Alavés: Prediction home win
Valencia are in the Copa del Rey final, missed out on the Europa League final and yet can still qualify for the Champions League directly. If you’d offered that to a Che back in January… Marcelino needs Geta to slip up but he won’t be taking any chances against an erratic Alavés side at home with the prospect of facing a desperate Valladolid onslaught next week. Abelardo’s lot have had a fine season but will end it empty handed and they can be forgiven for phoning this one in from the nearby beach.
Real Sociedad – Real Madrid: Prediction home win
Whatevs… that sums up Real’s attitude over the course of the last few weeks, a colossal sulk at a potless season having settled over the Bernabéu while the world’s media pick over the carcass of a truly miserable campaign. If that all sounds a bit gloomy, wait until La Real give them a hiding. The home side have won their last two and can still sneak into Europe while Zinedine Zidane’s mind is already in 2019-20.
Leganés – Espanyol: Prediction draw
The Parakeets are undefeated in seven and are also in with a shout of Europe, even if they need results elsewhere to go their way and seventh to open up a route. A straight shoot-out against La Real is a last-day possibility if they come away from Butarque empty handed but the Cucumber Growers, safe in 12th and with licence to put on a show to bid their home fans farewell until next year, will come out swinging.
Atlético – Sevilla: Prediction home win
It has been, overall, a disappointing season for Atlético, who set the trend for second-leg Champions League disasters back in the last 16 in Turin and never really threatened Barça’s domestic stranglehold, not having spent a single week atop the table. It’s hardly been any better for Sevilla, who could well miss out on Europe’s elite club competition and failed to make a serious dent in Europe or the Copa. This could be a low key affair and we’ll just assume Atleti will win it 1-0 without really getting out of first gear as that’s what they do these days.
Athletic – Celta: Prediction draw
The Lions hold the advantage if seventh comes into play for the Europa League but Gaizka Garitano and his side can be forgiven for wondering what might have been if the reserve team manager had been given the top job last summer. Athletic remain unbeaten in 11 under the now-permanent manager and they won’t want to surrender that record against a Celta side who are more or less safe and will take a point if it’s on offer.
Girona – Levante: Prediction away win
Levante have pulled themselves out of the mire again and while it hasn’t been as spectacular as last season in their last three they have taken Barça to the wire and stuck four past both Betis and Rayo. A surprise victory over Sevilla handed Girona a lifeline but they remain in the bottom three and will be on edge in Montilivi - where they’ve won three all season - whereas the Frogs know that their 40 points will probably be enough and can risk a bit of front-footery to make it certain before hosting Atlético next weekend.
Barcelona – Getafe: Prediction home win
Barça can one of two ways after complete disaster in Anfield derailed their treble bid: mope about and risk losing further momentum ahead of the Copa final against Valencia or set out to give Geta a right old hiding. In their last three visits to Camp Nou the Madrid side have been beaten 6-0 twice and it’s worth remembering whatever happened in Europe that Barça have still only lost three games in LaLiga this season. A point would serve the visitors’ purposes nicely so this could be a very interesting contest.