Getafe – Málaga (Friday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Getafe are the very epitome of inconsistency. The Azulones’ last seven results in LaLiga read: win, lose, win, draw, lose, win, lose. At the Coliseum though the Madrid side are considerably more predictable, winning four of their last five and knocking off Real Sociedad and Valencia during that run. With Málaga a little light up top going into Friday’s game a narrow victory for the home side looks a reasonable.
Girona – Las Palmas (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: home win
It is becoming redundant now to describe Girona as this season’s surprise package. Many a tipster’s pick to return straight to Segunda, in their first season in the top flight Girona have beaten the European champions and sit eight points clear of the drop zone. Pablo Machín’s side have lost their last two but should be considered favourites to return to winning ways against rock-bottom Las Palmas, who suffered a dispiriting 4-0 drubbing at Mestalla in the Copa, are on their fourth coach of the season already and have won one league game since September.
Real Madrid – Villarreal (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win
Crisis? What crisis? Zinedine Zidane is experiencing his first serious trough in the Bernabéu dugout and his side have limped out of title contention after three wins in their last eight Liga outings. However, the Frenchman continues to brush off questions about his team’s lack of cohesion. Villarreal on the other hand are a well-drilled side with plenty of individual talent but the visitors are without top scorer Cédric Bakambu, who has departed for China, and third-highest scorer Nicola Sansone and may struggle to replicate their record of two 1-1 draws in their last three visits to the Bernabéu given their extensive injury list.
Eibar – Atlético (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: away win
Diego Simeone has taken his Atlético side to Ipurua on three occasions in the league and has departed every time with three points in the bag. Diego Costa is suspended after his sending off last weekend but Simeone possesses an enviable array of attacking options and Vitolo, who was cleared to play along with his Spain teammate in January, seems to have regained his form. Eibar have been on an excellent run of six wins and a draw in seven to rise to within touching distance of the European places but other than Valencia have lost to all the top six opposition they have faced this season.
Deportivo – Valencia (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: draw
Valencia’s title aspirations have suffered a blow in recent weeks with defeats against Eibar and Villarreal but Girona were dispatched last weekend to steady the ship somewhat. However, Depor are a single point clear of the drop zone and will not be looking to go toe-to-toe with Marcelino’s entertainers and will probably opt instead to throw up a brick wall to deny the visitors, who are missing some of their attacking vim with Carlos Soler a doubt and Andreas Pereira suspended.
Levante – Celta (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: home win
Celta are one of few sides this weekend with a clean bill of health but arrive at the Ciutat de Valencia on the wrong end of a 5-0 hiding in the Copa in a week that also saw Juan Carlos Unzué’s side run themselves ragged against Real Madrid. Levante also exited the cup at the hands of Espanyol but that will not unduly concern the club with survival more of a pressing issue than another double header over the next two weeks. The Frogs are the division’s draw specialists with nine to their name already but at some point must turn one point into three to ensure they are not dragged into the mire. Sunday lunchtime provides an excellent opportunity to do just that.
Alavés – Sevilla (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: draw
According to Diego Maradona, Sevilla made a huge mistake appointing Vincenzo Montella and last weekend’s historic drubbing by Betis lends a little weight to the Argentinean’s comment. Betis hadn’t won the Derbi sevillano since 2011-12 and had never in the long history of the fixture spanked five past their bitter rivals. It was hardly the ideal start and will take some recovering from. Alavés are in a case of needs must as they seek to exit the drop zone and will probably chuck a five-man line across the back to try and shut out the visitors. After conceding just three in their last four and wining three of their last five since Abelardo took over, success cannot be ruled out.
Espanyol – Athletic (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: draw
Will this prove to be Quique Sánchez Flores’ last game in charge of Espanyol? Stoke City have expressed an interest in his services and he may be tempted to return to the Premier League, where his reputation remains largely intact after a spell at Watford. However, a derby double date against Barcelona in the Copa is a tempting reason to stay and Sánchez Flores will call on his cup experience to try and halt Barça’s inexorable march to a domestic double. In the meantime, he’ll settle for a point against Athletic, who have rocketed up the table to eighth after three wins in four.
Real Sociedad – Barcelona (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: away win
Real Sociedad hold a curious thrall over Barcelona at Anoeta, where the champions-elect haven’t won since 2007, the home side victorious on five occasions between 2011 and 2016. Sociedad have been struggling though, winning just two Liga games since the start of November, and face the only unbeaten side in LaLiga and one that put Celta to the sword without even breaking sweat on Thursday. That proud record, the only one of its kind in Europe, looks destined to fall on Sunday.
Betis – Leganés (Monday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Betis will be buzzing after their record Derby success, which was the third time Quique Setién’s team have bagged four or more goals in a game this season. Leganés will have their eyes on the Copa quarter-final first leg against Real Madrid next week with their league position more than secure and may rest players in the Villamarín. This is essentially this weekend’s banker on the coupon.