Now’s the time to sort the men from the boys! We’re heading quickly towards the business end of the football season in Spain and one or two cracks are showing.
This is when the tough get going. Football games are running out, margins of error are getting tighter, and whether it’s survival or glory you’re after, you need nerves of steel. For those of us who love online betting, we must keep a cool head and work out who hasn’t.
Week 23 Saturday
Granada vs Real Betis
It’s only four days since Granada suffered a four-goal defeat in Eibar, so let’s hope the league’s 19th-placed team is up for the fight. Five points from safety, they need to get something against a Real Betis side which has drawn three on the bounce and not won in four. It’s 3.20 for a draw, 2.81 for a home win and 2.50 the away win. So, it’s fair to say all three results are well and truly on!
Real Madrid vs Espanyol
Of the teams at the top, it seems Real Madrid are holding their nerves the best. A point clear and with two games in hand, Los Blancos have won three on the bounce, a feat Espanyol managed before their defeat to Real Sociedad last week. A home win with a -2.00 handicap is available at 1.82 or 2.12 for Espanyol with that two-goal start.
Sporting Gijon vs Atletico Madrid
Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann has said he has doubts over a move to the Premier League and is fully focussed on the job in hand, scoring late to get a crucial win for Atletico last week. Sporting kept their chances of survival alive with a win at Leganes last week. They could crack this week, though, if Griezmann is on his game.
Week 23 Sunday
Sevilla vs Eibar
There’s some talk that Jorge Sampaoli’s high-octane style, which has lifted Sevilla to third place, is taking its toll on a few of his players. No such problem at Eibar, where Jose Luis Mendilibar’s team is up to seventh after spanking Granada 4-0.
Deportivo la Coruna vs Alaves
Where exactly are Alaves’ heads? The 12th-placed club have reached the Copa del Rey final but were then promptly destroyed 6-0 by Barcelona. Deportivo would love to swap places, though; the once-great club are just three points above the drop and without a win in five.
Real Sociedad vs Villarreal
This is a cracker with plenty at stake for both teams. Real, in fifth, are hot on the heels of fourth-placed Atletico and Villarreal, in sixth, are only a point above Eibar and in danger of slipping out of the European slots.
Valencia vs Athletic Club
They won’t be sleeping easy at the Mestalla as Valencia sit precariously four points above the drop and without a win in three. We know how demanding their fans are, and it’s sure to be a tense atmosphere against a strong Athletic Club with two wins in the last three.
Week 23 Monday
Barcelona vs Leganes
And where do we start with Barca? What were Messi and Co thinking after they whacked Alaves, only to receive a real football education in Paris with a 4-0 defeat which may see them out of the Champions League? After fighting so hard all season, little Leganes need to keep a cool head, a strong mind, and maybe a miracle to get anything from this one!
Celta Vigo vs Osasuna
Celta Vigo lost their nerve in big style last week, leading over Atletico with the clock running down to end up with nothing. They are a bit hit-and-miss, winning and losing three in the last six, but striker Iago Aspas is a consistent threat. Bottom-club Osasuna is just ‘miss’ without the ‘hit’, stranded on ten points.
Week 23 Tuesday
Malaga vs Las Palmas
It’s the clash of the holiday spots on Monday evening, but Malaga won’t be in a partying mood when they welcome Las Palmas, the team which lost their unbeaten home record only last week. Las Palmas will be safe but defeat for Malaga may give their fans some jitters…
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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.