Ultra-light, picture-free, to-the-point version of the column this week, as this scribe is spending a few days in Brazil and the sun shines strong outside of his hotel room. Just one comment about the previous Quiniela: the Fallas factor worked exactly the opposite way to what I expected, and all three teams from Valencia won their matches. So that’s that.
Shall we? Remember, it’s ‘1’ for a home win, ‘X’ for a draw and ‘2’ for an away win.
- Girona (7th) vs Levante (17th): X. (Sat, 13:00)
Against all odds, Levante have won their last two. They even played some nice stuff against Eibar. I see them getting a point in Girona, despite the host’s impressive running streak at home (six consecutive wins with no goals conceded). Strange things happen at the end of the season, and Levante is obviously the Demogorgon this year.
- Athletic de Bilbao (13th) vs Celta (10th): 2. (Sat, 16:15)
Two teams with troubled coaches for the siesta match on Saturday. Celta’s Unzue and Athletic’s Ziganda have been regularly booed by their own fans this season, and it seems hard to see them keeping their jobs when the summer arrives. This is the first home match for Athletic after their frustrating elimination of the Europa League at the hands of Olympique de Marseille. Celta can take advantage of the charged atmosphere.
- UD Las Palmas (18th) vs Real Madrid (3rd): 2. (Sat- 18:30)
Short data points: a) True to form, Paco Jemez believes this is the worst side he’s ever managed; b) Hipsco got Zidane in a media turmoil with his statements after Spain’s trouncing of Argentina last Tuesday; c) Real Madrid will rest Cristiano Ronaldo and several other starters for their Tuesday Champions League date against Juve.
All this means that this match could really go either way and that if you want to take some risks, Las Palmas will probably be more focused than the visitors. Still, I’ve done too many of these cute predictions this season, so I’ll stick to the tried and tested.
- Sevilla (6th) vs Barcelona (1st): X. (Sat- 20:45)
Match of the weekend by a mile. A rested Messi – he didn’t play for Argentina during the international break, and you all know how that worked for Sampaoli – will probably use this match as a warm-up for the Roma tie on Wednesday, while Sevilla, with a tired Banega, will feel the pressure of the upcoming Bayern match on Tuesday. Even though I see Barcelona with the upper hand, I would not be surprised if both teams settle for a draw with the calendar in mind.
- Espanyol (14th) vs Alavés (16th): 1. (Sun – 12:00)
Neither side has anything to play for. Home side wins with a boring, but solid display. Gerard Moreno scores, trying to keep alive his hopes of going to Russia in the summer.
- Leganes (12th) vs Valencia (4th): 2. (Sun – 16:15)
Rodrigo is on absolute fire. He should be the difference maker on Sunday.
- Málaga (20th) vs Villarreal (5th): 1. (Sun – 18:30)
I know it makes no sense, but I’d bet the house on the hosts in this one. Villarreal have struggled against minor opponents this season, and there’s nothing as minor as Malaga in La Liga today.
- Eibar (11th) vs Real Sociedad (15th): 1. (Sun – 18:30)
Basque derby between an entertaining and solid team and an entertaining and soft one. Even if the visitors have changed coaches, this is a no brainer.
- Atlético de Madrid (2nd) vs Deportivo de La Coruña (19th): 1. (Sun – 20:45)
Atleti must keep going, because Real Madrid and Valencia have cut their advantage. Costa does not work for Spain, but he does for Atleti. Another nail on Depor’s coffin.
- Getafe (9th) vs Betis (8th): X. (Mon – 21:00)
Betis play every Monday, as they offer a great deal of entertainment to neutrals and has no bargaining power in the Spanish FA. They might get all three points, but it’s harder than it looks in Getafe.
Last week: 4/10 (40%).
Season: 103/220 (46%)
- Girona (7th) vs Levante (17th):
- Athletic de Bilbao (13th) vs Celta (10th):
- UD Las Palmas (18th) vs Real Madrid (3rd):
- Sevilla (6th) vs Barcelona (1st):
- Espanyol (14th) vs Alavés (16th):
- Leganes (12th) vs Valencia (4th):
- Málaga (20th) vs Villarreal (5th):
- Eibar (11th) vs Real Sociedad (15th):
- Atlético de Madrid (2nd) vs Deportivo de La Coruña (19th):
- Getafe (9th) vs Betis (8th):