Barcelona are stuttering towards the finish line in La Liga’s title race with Real Madrid and Atletico hot on their heels. Luis Enrique’s side are well aware of the fact that they are now just three points ahead of Atletico, but they have head-to-head advantage and goal difference as an additional buffer. Real Madrid don’t want to be forgotten, and their run of six consecutive La Liga victories since defeat to Atletico means they are closing in, but Zinedine Zidane’s men have the most difficult league fixtures to come of all three would-be contenders. There will, fittingly, be sleepless nights in this intriguing final stretch. We should be in for another thrilling gameweek as the title race hots up.
Friday 15 April
Levante 27/20 | Draw 9/4 | Espanyol 2/1
Bottom-placed Levante were unable to give their survival hopes a boost as they lost 1-0 to Real Betis last weekend. The game appeared headed for a goalless draw but a late goal from Ruben Castro piled further misery on the Valencia-based club. Rubi’s side are winless in three matches and are five points from safety. They have been better at home having won four of their last seven games, losing only to La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid in that run. Espanyol’s four-game unbeaten run came to an end as they suffered a 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid last Saturday. The Catalonia club will be hoping to bounce back strongly this weekend. Espanyol are unbeaten in their last three away games with consecutive draws against Granada and Malaga. Constantin Galca’s side drew 1-1 with Levante in the reverse fixture, but knocked them out of the Copa del Rey in a 2-1 victory in December. They’ve cancelled each other out in four out of their last six meetings. Back the draw at 9/4.
Saturday 16 April
Getafe 72/10 | Draw 9/2 | Real Madrid 3/10
Getafe’s winless run extended to 12 matches as they were beaten 2-0 by Villarreal last Sunday. In those games, they’ve lost 10 times and find themselves in the relegation zone. Their last win came in mid-January in a 3-1 victory over Espanyol. Their opponents, Real Madrid, eased the pain of their shock defeat at Wolfsburg in the Champions League as Cristiano Ronaldo scored and provided two assists in a resounding 4-0 win over Eibar. Ronaldo became the first player ever in Europe’s top leagues to score 30 goals in six straight seasons and made the club’s supporters believe they could still finish the season with a piece of silverware. Los Blancos kept up the pressure on title rivals Atletico and Barcelona thanks to a sixth consecutive league win. Madrid have won their last six meetings against Getafe, winning by at least three goals in all those games. Take Real Madrid to Win By Three Or More Goals at 18/10.
Las Palmas 19/20 | Draw 24/10 | Sporting Gijon 3/1
Quique Setien’s Las Palmas won their third game in a row as they came from behind to see off Deportivo La Coruna 3-1. That result moved the newly-promoted club from 15th to 10th place in the league with 39 points, 11 clear of the relegation zone. Setien’s side have now won six of their last seven games, with the exception of the 2-1 defeat against Real Madrid on gameweek 29. Their opponents, Sporting Gijon, are coming off a 1-0 home defeat to Celta Vigo, their 18th loss of the season. Abelardo Fernandez’s side have lost 10 of their 16 away games and are winless in their last four travels. The home win is a top bet at 19/20.
Eibar 17/10 | Draw 22/10 | Real Sociedad 31/20
Eibar’s miserable run of form continued as they were hammered 4-0 by a rampant Real Madrid. Jose Mendilibar’s side are winless in eight games with four defeats, including consecutive losses. They’ve lost three straight home matches, scoring just once while shipping seven goals. Real Sociedad come into the match high on confidence following their 1-0 victory over Barcelona last weekend. That was their second successive win having beaten Sevilla 2-1 away from home the prior week. Eusebio Sacristan’s side have won consecutive meetings with Eibar and are tipped to come away with maximum points.
Celta Vigo 13/20 | Draw 3/1 | Real Betis 4/1
Celta Vigo are in good form – unbeaten in four matches with three wins, keeping three clean sheets. At home, their unbeaten run stretches to six matches in La Liga having claimed wins over Levante, Eibar and Real Sociedad. Eduardo Berizzo will be hoping his side can keep up their impressive form against Real Betis. Juan Merino’s side recorded a 1-0 victory over Levante last weekend thanks to Ruben Castro’s 81st-minute goal. That was Castro’s 17th goal of the season and Betis will need him to be at his best. Celta are unbeaten in their last three meetings against Betis with two wins. The home win is tipped at 13/20.
Sunday 17 April
Malaga 17/10 | Draw 21/10 | Athletic Bilbao 17/10
Malaga played to a goalless draw away to Granada last week Friday, their second straight stalemate. Javi Gracia’s side are unbeaten in five matches, but have only managed two wins which came against Sporting Gijon and Real Betis. Malaga have struggled in the goalscoring department in recent weeks, but their backline have kept three clean sheets from their last four games. Athletic Bilbao returned to winning ways as Inaki Williams’ fine second-half strike earned them a 1-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano at San Mames. That victory comes after a run of three defeats and a draw in Bilbao’s previous four competitive matches. These teams have drawn three of their last four meetings and are tipped to cancel each other out at 21/10.
Sevilla 9/20 | Draw 37/10 | Deportivo La Coruna 11/2
Sevilla are struggling to find their rhythm in recent weeks with three straight league defeats. Unai Emery’s side will be looking to return to winning ways and will welcome the return to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Los Rojiblancos have won 13 of their 16 home games, losing just three times. Deportivo La Coruna suffered a 3-1 defeat to Las Palmas on Monday and dropped to 12th place on the log. They’ve won just once in their last 16 games and Victor Sanchez will be desperate to turn their form around. Depor are winless in their last nine travels with four defeats. I’m tipping Sevilla to make home advantage count and oust their opponents.
Atletico Madrid 1/4 | Draw 9/2 | Granada 13/1
Atletico Madrid recorded a comfortable 3-1 victory at Espanyol last Saturday, closing to within three points of the leaders Barcelona, with Real another point behind. Fernando Torres, Antoine Griezmann and Koke were all on the scoresheet for Diego Simeone’s side. That was a second straight victory for Colchoneros after their 5-1 win over Real Betis the prior week. Atleti are unbeaten in 13 games at the Vicente Calderon with 10 wins, including three on the spin. Granada’s fans jeered their team after a dull 0-0 home draw against Malaga left them just outside the relegation zone. Jose Gonzalez’s side have lost six of their last eight away games, winning just once against Deportivo La Coruna. Granada have never beaten Atleti in their nine encounters, losing seven times with Atleti keeping eight clean sheets. The home win is a banker at 1/4, but for more value take Atleti to Win To Nil at 13/20.
Rayo Vallecano 17/10 | Draw 23/10 | Villarreal 31/20
Rayo Vallecano slumped to their 15th defeat of the season as they lost 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao last weekend. Paco Jemez’s side have won just once in their last nine games, with five draws and three defeats. They have fared much better at home with their 5-1 defeat against Barcelona last month their only loss from their previous seven matches. Vallecano claimed a 2-0 win over Getafe in their last home game and Jemez will hope they can replicate that result. Villarreal are unbeaten in five matches in all competitions with three wins on the spin. They boast an excellent head-to-head record over their opponents having won seven of their last eight meetings. I’m going for the away win at 31/20.
Barcelona 1/8 | Draw 77/10 | Valencia 16/1
Barcelona’s grip on La Liga was loosened further as the leaders suffered a second straight defeat, losing 1-0 at Real Sociedad. The Blaugrana saw their lead at the top over nearest challengers Atletico Madrid cut to only three points with six games left, having held a nine-point advantage less than a fortnight ago, and are now just four points ahead of Real Madrid. They have failed to win in their last three league matches, their longest run without a La Liga victory since Luis Enrique took charge in 2014. Enrique’s side have enough quality to bounce back especially at the Camp Nou where they’ve won 14 of their 16 games, scoring 55 goals and conceding 12 times. Pako Ayestaran’s Valencia eased their relegation fears by snapping a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over Sevilla. Los Che have lost their last three away games and their last meeting at the Camp Nou ended in a 7-0 defeat. Barcelona are tipped on the Half-time/Full-time Double at 4/10.