Spanish La Liga Preview

Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid all won last weekend to leave the race for the La Liga title on a knife edge with three matches left in the season. Barcelona have 82 points, ahead of Atletico on goal difference, and Real Madrid are one point back in third. Zinedine Zidane’s side will travel to the Anoeta Stadium on Saturday to take on Real Sociedad, while Atletico will welcome strugglers Rayo Vallecano at the Vicente Calderon. In the night, free-scoring Barcelona will visit Real Betis, who they boast an excellent record against. Will this be the weekend Sevilla finally win on the road? Unai Emery’s team will play relegation-threatened Espanyol on Sunday. Seven teams can still mathematically be relegated, from 14-placed Deportivo all the way to bottom-placed Levante, and there are three games to go, including some direct clashes.

Friday 29 April

6/10 Sporting Gijon | Draw 3/1 | Eibar 9/2 (20:30)

Sporting Gijon are heavily mired in a relegation fight for their lives and come off a 6-0 drubbing by Barcelona last weekend. Abelardo Fernandez’s side are currently 19th on the log, but a win could take them out of the relegation zone. Gijon have won two of their last three home games, beating Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. Fernandez will be hoping his side can recover from their heavy defeat against Barca and put it in a strong performance. Eibar are winless in eight away matches with six losses, including back-to-back defeats against Real Madrid and Valencia. Gijon are tipped to make home advantage count at 6/10.

Saturday 30 April

5/1 Real Sociedad | 36/10 | Real Madrid 5/10 (16:00)

Real Sociedad are winless in three matches following their goalless draw away to Villarreal last Sunday. Prior to that result, Eusebio Sacristan’s side had lost back-to-back games against Eibar and Getafe. On Saturday, they’ll come up against the mighty Real Madrid who are on a nine-game winning streak. Los Blancos came from two goals down to claim a vital 3-2 victory over Rayo Vallecano last weekend, thanks to a brace from Gareth Bale. The Welshman is having an excellent season – injury-wracked as it has been – scoring 18 goals and providing 11 assists. Real Madrid are a top bet at 5/10.

1/4 Atletico Madrid | 47/10 | Rayo Vallecano 10/1 (18:15)

Angel Correa's deflected 20-yard strike earned Atletico Madrid victory against a stubborn Malaga last weekend. That was Atleti’s fifth straight victory in La Liga and they will be looking to extend their record. Diego Simeone’s side are unbeaten in 15 matches at the Vicente Calderon with 12 wins, keeping 10 clean sheets in that run. The defence has been rock-solid even when they’ve had to be without Diego Godin. In attack, Antoine Griezmann has been superb this season, scoring 20 goals while Fernando Torres has his fear factor back having scored in five consecutive games for the first time in his career. Rayo Vallecano are without a win in 15 travels and Atleti are tipped to win with a clean sheet at 13/20.

16/1 Real Betis | 8/1 | Barcelona 1/8 (20:30)

Real Betis come off a 2-0 defeat away to Sevilla and will face the wrath of Barcelona on Saturday. Juan Merino’s side haven’t beaten Barca in the league since 2008 and have lost seven of their last nine meetings, including five consecutively. Barcelona seem to be past their struggles having won back-to-back matches, thrashing Deportivo 8-0 and Sporting Gijon 6-0 last weekend. Luis Suarez scored four goals in each of those games and is the league's top scorer on 34 goals. Back Barca to Win By Three Or More Goals at 8/10.

6/10 Granada | 29/10 | Las Palmas 5/1 (22:05)

Granada suffered a 2-1 defeat away to Celta Vigo on Monday, courtesy of a brace from Iago Aspas. The result saw El Grana remain 17th, a point clear of the relegation zone, with three rounds of matches to go. Jose Gonzalez’s side have won just once in their last eight matches in La Liga which does not bode well for their chances. Their opponents, Las Palmas, come off a resounding 4-0 victory over Espanyol. Quique Setien’s side have won four of their last five away matches and are tipped on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 5/4.

Sunday 1 May

9/10 Athletic Bilbao | 26/10 | Celta Vigo 3/1 (12:00)

Athletic Bilbao scored two late goals to hold Levante to a 2-2 draw last weekend which sees them remained in fifth place – a Europa League spot. The Lions are now winless in two matches having lost 1-0 at home to Atletico Madrid last week. Prior to that result, they were unbeaten in four matches at San Mames Stadium with three wins. Celta Vigo defeated Granada 2-1 on Monday to move closer to fourth place in the Spanish league, thanks to a goal in each half from Aspas. Eduardo Berizzo’s side are unbeaten in seven matches with four wins. A tight affair is expected and Both Teams To Score is tipped at 7/10.

15/10 Espanyol | 23/10 | Sevilla 18/10 (16:00)

Espanyol were thrashed 4-0 by Las Palmas last weekend which saw their winless run extend to five matches. In those games, Constantin Galca’s side have lost three times and shipped 11 goals. Their opponents, Sevilla, secured a 2-0 victory over bitter rivals Real Betis last Sunday thanks to goals from Kevin Gameiro and Coke. Prior to that result, Unai Emery’s team were winless in five matches with four losses. Rojiblancos are still searching for their first away win of the season. They’ve lost their last three travels, but I’m tipping them to earn a point here.

21/20 Deportivo | 5/2 | Getafe 5/2 (18:15)

Federico Cartabia equalised late as Deportivo La Coruna boosted their hopes of survival with a 1-1 draw away to Eibar last weekend. Despite five games without a win, the stalemate helped Victor Sanchez's Deportivo to 39 points, seven clear of the relegation zone with three matches remaining. Relegation-threatened Getafe did little to boost their La Liga survival hopes as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Valencia. Getafe fans endured the extra sting of former players – Daniel Parejo and Paco Alcacer – scoring both of Valencia's goals. El Geta have lost seven of their last eight away games and are tipped to go down here.

21/20 Valencia | 5/2 | Villarreal 5/2 (20:30)

Valencia have improved heavily under Pako Ayestaran having gone four games unbeaten in La Liga. Los Che have won three of those games, including a stunning 2-1 win over Barcelona at the Camp Nou on gameweek 33. Ayestaran’s side thrashed Eibar 4-0 in their last outing at the Mestalla Stadium and will be looking to keep up their impressive form. Villarreal’s goalless draw at home to Real Sociedad last Sunday means they are now winless in three matches. They’ve lost back-to-back matches on the road against Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid. It should be a tight affair, but Valencia are tipped to oust their opponents.

Monday 2 May

21/20 Malaga | 23/10 | Levante 26/10 (20:30)

Malaga went down 1-0 to Atletico Madrid last weekend, courtesy of a deflected goal by Angel Correa in the 62nd minute. Malaga have gone the month of April without a win, suffering two defeats. Javi Gracia will be hoping his team can finish the season better and will target maximum points against bottom-placed Levante on Monday. Joan Rubi’s side are on the brink of relegation after throwing away a two-goal lead late on to draw 2-2 at home to Athletic Bilbao last Sunday. Relegation now looks inevitable for Levante as they have to beat Malaga to give them a fighting chance of survival. However, they have the worst away form in the league: their last win was against Sporting Gijon, back in November last year. Back the home win at 21/20.

La Liga Picks
Gijon WIN 6/10
Real Madrid WIN 5/10
Atletico Madrid WIN WITH CLEAN SHEET 13/20
Las Palmas WIN/DRAW 5/4
Athletic Bilbao BTTS 7/10
Espanyol DRAW 23/10
Deportivo WIN 21/20
Valencia WIN 21/20
Malaga WIN 21/20

Written by Chadley Nagel