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Spanish La Liga: Week 38 Preview

Week 38 Preview

We preview the final weekend of La Liga action which is set to get underway on Saturday 19 May. 

Barcelona’s hope of finishing the season unbeaten came to an end after they suffered a shock defeat against Levante. The Catalan club had gone 45 matches without defeat in the league, including 36 games this season.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid thrashed Celta Vigo in their last home game, while Villarreal and Real Betis secured the Europa League spots. Teams will be playing for pride and some players will be trying to attract their national team coaches with the World Cup approaching, therefore, all games will still be competitive. Let’s see what the season’s finale has in store for us.

Saturday 19 May

Celta Vigo 8/10 | Draw 3/1 | Levante 29/10 
Celta Vigo, who are winless in their last six games, were thrashed 6-0 by Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu last week, the Sky Blues have been dreadful, conceding 11 goals in the last three games, winning just one in their last 10 matches. On the other hand, Levante have been nothing but brilliant.

The Frogs have won five in a row including a 5-4 thriller against champions, Barcelona, who were unbeaten prior to kick-off. They have collected more points in their last 10 encounters than any other side in the league, winning eight times in the process. Back Levante one last time here at 29/10.

Las Palmas 2/1 | Draw 26/10 | Girona 12/10 
Las Palmas’ poor run of form continued when they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Eibar last week. La Union Deportiva have been terrible in front of goal, scoring just twice in their last eight matches. Girona have had a great debut season, despite their bad run of form in the last nine weeks.

The Catalan club can be proud of what they have achieved this campaign. Girona won the reverse fixture 6-0 and they have collected more points on the road than Las Palmas have at home. Get on the visitors at a well-priced 12/10.

Leganes 17/10 | Draw 49/20 | Real Betis 15/10 
Leganes will be delighted that this is the last game of the season as things are getting worse for Los Legionarios. They are winless in their last five matches, including three consecutive defeats, whilst conceding 10 goals.

Real Betis, on the other hand, have secured a UEFA Europa League spot for next season, but they still need to win this game to get a chance of automatic qualification. Take Real Betis at 15/10.

Malaga 43/20 | Draw 47/20 | Getafe 5/4
Segunda-bound Malaga will end their La Liga campaign in front of their home fans. This is a season they will want to forget as they have lost 27 matches already in this campaign. The bottom-of-the-table side have lost three games in a row, conceding nine goals in the process.

Getafe were unfortunate to see their five-game unbeaten run come to an end after suffering a 1-0 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid, a match in which they missed a late penalty which could’ve been the equaliser. The Azulones have been decent in recent weeks and they will fancy their chances against a relegated team. I’m expecting a low scoring game here with Under 2.5 Goals tipped at 9/10.

Sevilla 4/10 | Draw 4/1 | Alaves 11/2
Sevilla haven’t lost a game since the sacking of Vincenzo Montella. The Sevillistas were impressive in their last home game beating last season’s champions Real Madrid. However, the draw against neighbours, Real Betis, last week means that they will not be playing in Europe next season. Alaves have done very little wrong this season and I can’t fault them for anything.

The Babazorros ensured back-to-back wins when they thrashed Athletic Bilbao 3-1 in their last home game of the season. Both teams have seen their side find the back of the net in their last four games. As the form would suggest, take Both Teams to Score at 6/10.

Villarreal 29/20 | Draw 3/1 | Real Madrid 29/20

Villarreal will represent Spain in the UEFA Europa League next season, but the Yellow Submarine are tied on points with Real Betis as they battle for automatic qualification. A win here will be enough for Javier Calleja’s men as they have a better head-to-head record. Also, a win here will be their first league double against Real Madrid in many years.

Los Blancos thrashed Celta Vigo 6-0 last Saturday and they will be looking for back-to-back wins as a confidence boost ahead of their UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool. Gareth Bale has been the player to watch for Zinedine Zidane’s men in recent weeks with the Welsh international scoring four goals in his last four games, including a first half brace against Celta last week. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (25) has scored more goals than Bale (15) this season for Real Madrid. Though Villarreal won’t be easy to beat, take Real Madrid at 29/20.

Sunday 20 May

Valencia 4/10 | Draw 4/1 | Deportivo 57/10
Valencia’s narrow 1-0 win at Girona last week ended their five-game winless run. Los Che will look at this season and be proud of what they have achieved. The Bats play their last game at the Mestalla and coach Marcelino knows that a win here will be the icing on the cake as his side make the return to the UEFA Champions League next season.

On the other hand, Deportivo had the worst season they could hope for, losing 20 games and conceding 74 goals – more than any other side. Valencia are a banker here at 4/10.

Athletic Bilbao 15/20 | Draw 11/4 | Espanyol 33/10 
The season ends with two of the league’s most inconsistent teams facing each other. Athletic Bilbao have a record of 10 wins, 13 draws and 14 defeats, while Espanyol are on 11 wins, 13 draws and 13 defeats.

Only three points separate these sides with both teams struggling in front of goal and their last three meetings has seen Under 2.5 Goals scored. Continue with the trend and back Under 2.5 Goals at a valuable 21/20.

Atletico Madrid 6/10 | Draw 29/10 | Eibar 9/2
Atletico Madrid, who played in the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday, will finish the season in front of their home fans. Atleti are unbeaten in their last nine games against Eibar and a win here will be the cherry on top in the stellar season they have had.

Diego Simeone’s men have been superb at home, losing once and conceding six goals, whilst winning 12. Eibar won back-to-back games for the first time since February, but I think that run will end at the Wanda Metropolitano. Back Atletico Madrid at 6/10.

Barcelona 2/9 | Draw 6/1 | Real Sociedad 17/2 

Barcelona’s hopes of lifting the trophy unbeaten came to an end after they suffered a shock defeat against bottom-half side Levante. The Catalans rested their star, Lionel Messi, for the clash and they paid the price. Ernesto Valverde and his men travelled to South Africa for a friendly against Mamelodi Sundowns straight after Levante’s defeat. They return to the Camp Nou to celebrate their 25th league title and this will also be Andres Iniesta’s final game for Barcelona.

Real Sociedad will be delighted with what Imanol Alguacil has done since taking over as interim coach and I’m confident they will keep him as head coach for next season. His last assignment is a tricky one, an away game against the champions who will want to lift the trophy in fine style and make up for last week’s disappointing result. Back Barcelona to Win & Both Teams to Score at 7/10.

Eibar Win 9/20
Real Sociedad Win 6/10
Villarreal Win 19/20
Espanyol Win 13/20

Real Betis Win 15/10
Ath. Bilbao vs Espanyol Under 2.5 Goals 19/20
Valencia Win 4/10

Written by Banele Pikwa

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