Soccer Spain LaLiga Prediction
Real Sociedad vs Rayo Vallecano - Match Preview
⚽ 22 April 2023 - 16:30 GMT +0
Real Sociedad played out a fourth successive game that was won 2-0 by the home side on the day last time out, but they were on the wrong end of the result this time against Basque rivals and fellow European hopefuls Athletic Bilbao. That defeat opened the door for several challengers, including upcoming opponents Rayo Vallecano, to snatch the coveted fourth place and the Champions League football that comes with it.
Sociedad’s pair of wins at home to Elche (2-0) and Getafe (2-0) in that period have set them up to replicate their 2-0 away success at Vallecano in January. Their defending continues to be such a stonewalling force at home that no club ranked sixth or lower going into this round has scored twice away to Sociedad this LL season, whilst only Valladolid escaped with a victory. The remaining clubs have a winless record (D3, L7) with an average of 0.5 goals scored!
Vallecano’s fading dreams of European football next season were revived when they snapped an eight-game winless run with a vital 2-1 win at home to Osasuna, a match that manager Andoni Iraola classified as “fundamental” in its buildup. There’s still room for hope of participating in UEFA action next season, particularly if Real Madrid win the Copa del Rey final and the slot for the Europa Conference League play-off round consequently moves from sixth place to seventh.
That Osasuna win was their first LL half-time/full-time double since mid-October, which will be especially pleasing for Iraola considering Vallecano’s last three LL half-time leads all led to stalemates. Whilst their season-long LL away record was equal with their overall position of eighth heading into this round, points taken home from Barcelona (D 0-0), Atlético Madrid (D 1-1) and Villarreal (W 1-0) ought to remind them they can mix it with the best.
📋 Players to watch: Ander Barrenetxea’s two goals for Sociedad this LL season were recorded in 2-0 wins against Elche and Vallecano, whilst Vallecano are yet to lose a LL match when Isi Palazón scores (W6, D3).
⚡ Hot streak: Sociedad’s last ten matches in all competitions each produced fewer than 2.5 total goals, whilst none were won by the away side on the day.
Valladolid vs Girona - Match Preview
⚽ 22 April 2023 - 16:30 GMT +0
Valladolid scored one of last Saturday’s most resounding shocks across Europe’s five biggest leagues, vanquishing top-four chasing Villarreal 2-1 to open up a five-point gap to the La Liga (LL) relegation zone. Aided by that victory, Valladolid has now scored as many goals (five) under new coach Paulo Pezzolano (W1, D1) as they did in the final seven games with Pacheta in charge.
However, the defensive issues seen in the previous Valladolid manager’s last game, highlighted by a 6-0 loss to Real Madrid, have only been diluted rather than extinguished. Because of Villarreal’s late consolation, Valladolid are currently without a clean sheet in eight matches (W2, D2, L4), while conceding multiple second-half goals in each of the last three games drawn or lost.
There are certainly no defensive issues for Girona, who after keeping a maiden clean sheet against runaway leaders Barcelona at the sixth-ever attempt, dispatched bottom club Elche 2-0. In turn, they sit just five points shy of seventh place – and possible UEFA Europa Conference League football next term – ahead of a weekend that could see them complete a run of three straight LL shutouts for the first time since March 2018.
Girona’s heroic 0-0 draw at Camp Nou was made all the more surprising by the fact it’s their only LL clean sheet away from home this season! Míchel’s men had also conceded multiple goals in each of the four road trips prior (W1, D1, L2), with both defeats contributing to a pre-round away league high of four match openers conceded inside 15 minutes.
📋 Players to watch: That might inspire the likes of Selim Amallah, who netted less than 120 seconds into Valladolid’s victory over Villarreal last weekend. A day later, Girona’s Taty Castellanos opened the scoring against Elche, making it two-headed match openers out of his previous three goals.
⚡ Hot stat: Valladolid is the only side yet to score or concede inside the first 15 minutes of a home league game this term.
Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo - Match Preview
⚽ 22 April 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
Real Madrid’s 2-0 La Liga (LL) win over Cádiz, coupled with Barcelona dropping points at Girona, closed the deficit at the top of the table to 11 points, keeping the title race theoretically alive for a little longer. Tuesday night’s 2-0 UEFA Champions League (UCL) win over Chelsea to put them into the semi-finals, therefore, capped off a decent week for the reigning champions.
Last time out at the Bernabéu in LL though, Los Blancos were beaten 3-2 by Villarreal for their first home league defeat of the season (W9, D4), suggesting they might have taken their eye off the ball with the UCL in mind. Manager Carlo Ancelotti will be in no mood for a repeat, as the last time Madrid lost consecutive home league games was back in March 2019.
While Celta Vigo is still knocking on the door of the top half, their Monday night 1-0 defeat to Mallorca ended their seven-match unbeaten run in the league (W3, D4) to dent those ambitions. Repeating their top-ten finish of two seasons ago would be a fine way to mark their centenary year, as would beating Madrid, which they haven’t managed in the league since May 2014 (D2, L15).
You have to go back to November 2006 for the last time they claimed a LL H2H triumph in Madrid (D1, L9) which highlights the scale of the task Celta face, even if they’re unbeaten in league away action since the start of February (W2, D3). But perhaps their biggest challenge in the coming months is keeping hold of midfielder Gabri Veiga, with Madrid among a number of clubs reportedly keen to sign him in the summer!
📋 Players to watch: Rodrygo’s midweek brace against Chelsea saw him net twice after the 50th minute, a period in which five of his last six goals arrived. Also dangerous late on, Carles Pérez completed Celta’s scoring in two of their last four matches.
⚡ Hot streak: The last seven H2Hs (Madrid: W6, D1) all witnessed goals in both halves.
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