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12 May 2023 / admin

Soccer Spain LaLiga Prediction

Real Sociedad vs Girona - Match Preview

⚽ 13 May 2023 - 12:00 GMT +0

Real Sociedad are hitting form at just the right time as they bid to secure their first top-four La Liga (LL) finish since 2012/13. Courtesy of a standout 2-0 win over Real Madrid last round, Sociedad have avoided defeat in each of their last four league outings (W3, D1) and are now six points better off than at this stage of 2021/22. That has understandably raised expectations of Champions League football coming to Reale Arena next season.

Their uptick in form has been built on solid defensive showings, highlighted by just one goal being conceded across that unbeaten streak. That record is sure to be tested here against one of the league’s more prolific attacking sides in Girona (G: 52), an opposition that netted three goals in the reverse H2H. The trio of goals were in vain on that occasion as Sociedad’s five extended their unbeaten H2H streak to five clashes (W2, D3).

Girona continues to solidify its title as one of LL’s surprise success stories. Like their hosts, they recently beat Real Madrid (4-2) before following it up with wins against Sevilla (2-0) and Mallorca (2-1). That has helped the visitors - who remarkably finished sixth in La Liga 2 last season - retain faint hopes of European qualification as they come into this round holding the upper hand for the Europa Conference League playoff round place.

As far as this game is concerned, a lot of Girona’s success this season has come at home, while on the road they’ve often faltered. Their win at Sevilla (2-0) on their last trip was just their second away success from their last nine away matches (D3, L4). Picking up their first successive away LL wins since March 2019 looks a bit more unlikely when one also considers their uninspiring overall LL record this season against sides currently above them in the table (W1, D2, L6).

📋 Players to watch: After his two goals in his last two appearances for Sociedad, Takefusa Kubo has now registered the most LL goal contributions for his side (G8, A3). Taty Castellanos also boasts that title for his team, although all his contributions have been goals (13) from seven in his last four LL appearances.

Hot stat: The winner on the day in seven of Sociedad’s last eight LL matches scored exactly two goals.

Osasuna vs Almeria - Match Preview

⚽ 13 May 2023 - 14:15 GMT +0

Osasuna manager Jagoba Arrasate admitted he shed tears after the club lost their first Copa del Rey (CDR) final in 18 years, this time falling short against the might of Real Madrid (L 2-1). Following three consecutive competitive losses against La Liga’s (LL) current top four, the visit of Almería could be a timely one as they seek to defibrillate their dying season.

The hard slog of a compacted LL season and eight-game CDR journey could finally be taking its toll, as the proud Pamplona club are now on the verge of no European action at all in 2023/24 after being just one point shy of the top four during the World Cup break. Hosting a team outside the top five heading into this round - against whom Osasuna have a home LL record of W8, D1, L2 - could be just what they need.

Almería ended last weekend just two points above the danger zone in a congested bottom half owing to crucial 2-1 wins against the condemned Elche, as well as direct relegation competitors Getafe and Valencia across their last six outings. Finishing the season against Valladolid and Espanyol could therefore play into their hands.

Head coach Rubi believes that five more points from their five remaining games should be enough to survive, whilst seeking to quash complacency after the Elche win when assessing that “there is a long way to go, nothing is done.” But this away trip to Osasuna, as well as their next to Sociedad, could both be write-offs if their away LL record against clubs finishing the last round above them in the standings (D1, L10) is anything to go by.

📋 Players to watch: Osasuna midfielder Rubén García boasts a perfect personal record of eight wins from eight league meetings with Almería, including a goal in the 2018/19 Segunda División season. Léo Baptistão will hope to be a lucky charm for the visitors once again, having won four of his five goalscoring appearances this season after opening the scoring against Elche.

Hot stat: All but two of Osasuna’s 12 wins this LL season were by a single-goal margin.

Villarreal vs Ath Bilbao - Match Preview

⚽ 13 May 2023 - 16:30 GMT +0

With just five La Liga (LL) games to go, and a sizable seven-point gap to the top four coming into the round, Villarreal’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League via the league for the first time since 2015/16 look all but dead in the water. That comes despite their current three-game unbeaten LL run (W2, D1) that has helped the Yellow Submarine forge a two-point cushion to the chasing pack that includes upcoming opponents Athletic Bilbao.

These next few weeks are going to be crucial to Villarreal’s European hopes, with three of their next four LL games coming against three of the four sides starting the game week directly below them in the table! They have tasted only two defeats in their seven games at home to other current top-ten sides this season (W4, D1), so confidence should be high that they can start this crucial run-in with a positive result.

That being said, the home side doesn’t have a great record against Athletic, failing to win any of the previous eight H2H meetings (D5, L3). Visiting manager Ernesto Valverde will hope that can give his side a mental boost as they’ve just started to falter at perhaps the worst possible time, failing to win any of their last three LL outings (D1, L2).

They conceded just one single goal in each of those matches, putting the spotlight on the attack for not delivering at the other end of the pitch. Star forward Iñaki Williams has shouldered some of the responsibility for recent displays and reiterated this week that he and his teammates are going to do “everything possible” to still secure European qualification.

📋 Key battle: All-action Nicolas Jackson has been a driving force behind Villarreal’s improved form with five goals in his last six matches - although he’s also picked up four yellow cards and a red in that time, too! Trying to stop him will be Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simón who hasn’t conceded more than a single goal in any of the last seven H2Hs.

Hot streak: Each of Villarreal’s last five competitive home games has produced at least one goal in or beyond the 70th minute.

Real Madrid vs Getafe - Match Preview

⚽ 13 May 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0

After beating Osasuna 2-1 to win the Copa del Rey - their third piece of silverware of the season - Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City in their UEFA Champions League semi-final during the week. There’ll be no respite when they bid to regain second place in La Liga (LL) from city rivals Atlético by hosting another Madrid-based team, Getafe, who have beaten them only once in the last 18 H2Hs (W15, D2).

With the second leg against Man City approaching, manager Carlo Ancelotti could well rotate his squad here as he bids to build on a run of just one defeat in 20 LL home fixtures (W14, D5) to keep Los Blancos as fresh as he can. Ancelotti says he’s happy with the physical condition of his squad, and with few injury concerns and only Dani Carvajal suspended, they appear to be in good shape.

That’s potentially bad news for relegation contenders Getafe, who, after a winless April (D2, L4) moved to 18th with a vital 1-0 victory over Celta Vigo that boosted their survival hopes. Although they are level on points with Valencia immediately above them, their inferior H2H record means that everything could come down to their final day visit to Valladolid, who they currently trail by one point and two places.

Before that, they will enter their third and last LL away game of the season having not won on the road since October (D3, L7) whilst failing to score in three of the last four (D1, L3). Getafe also hasn’t won an away H2H since February 2008 (L13), losing the last four of them ‘to nil’, including three with a 2-0 scoreline.

📋 Players to watch: Real star Marco Asensio could get some game time here and he has been a lucky charm for Madrid, who have won all eight of his LL goalscoring outings this term. Meanwhile, ex-Madrid man Borja Mayoral has netted in two of Getafe’s last three matches, although on both occasions they subsequently lost!

Hot streak: Madrid has won at least five corners in each of their last seven league fixtures (W4, L3).

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