Soccer Spain LaLiga Prediction
Atl. Madrid vs Mallorca - Match Preview
⚽ 26 April 2023 - 17:30 GMT +0
A 16th consecutive managerial trip to Camp Nou without a win frustrated Atlético Madrid boss Diego Simeone, but it was relatively inconsequential in terms of the club’s ambitions of entering an 11th consecutive UEFA Champions League group stage next season. Courtesy of Real Betis and Villarreal also falling at the weekend, their buffer inside the top four remained a very comfortable 12 points following their 1-0 loss away to Barcelona.
So after being conquered twice 1-0 by Barcelona this La Liga (LL) season, Atlético’s next task is to avoid having Mallorca, the only other club to have defeated Atlético in LL football since November, inflict upon them the exact same fate. Whilst Atlético’s seven-game unbeaten LL home run (W6, D1) has them warm favourites, Simeone can rest easy knowing they’re not in danger of falling outside the top four, as they did following the reverse H2H in November 2022.
Mallorca have not shifted from the mid-table position they assumed following that win over Atlético and headed into this midweek round in a similar position following their first series of consecutive wins since that meeting. Whilst they haven’t been able to further advance up the standings in the nearly six months that have elapsed, European football is still theoretically within reach, particularly if Real Madrid wins the Copa del Rey final and pushes the UEFA Europa Conference League playoff round slot down to seventh.
Whilst their back-to-back wins were against bottom-half clubs (3-1 Getafe and 1-0 Celta Vigo), the importance of the trip to Celta cannot be understated. That was their first LL away win in eight attempts (D1, L6), sparking hopes that they perhaps now have the form and confidence to emulate consecutive 2-0 wins away to Villarreal and Vallecano earlier in the season.
📋 Players to watch: After a double at home to Almería two starts back, Antoine Griezmann will be looking to score in an Atlético home win for the sixth time this calendar year. Vedat Muriqi has gone two starts without a goal but ought to be inspired by his match-winning goal in the reverse H2H, one of five LL wins he has scored this season.
⚡ Hot stat: Just two of Atlético’s last 12 LL matches were decided by a 2+ goal margin.
Getafe vs Almeria - Match Preview
⚽ 26 April 2023 - 17:30 GMT +0
As the La Liga (LL) season nears its conclusion, a true relegation six-pointer is arguably the most important fixture of the round as 16th-placed Getafe welcome 17th-placed Almería to the Spanish capital. A 3-1 defeat at Mallorca was the fourth winless match in succession for Getafe (D2, L2) and left manager Quique Sánchez Flores furious with his side, who sit just a point above the drop zone ahead of the round.
As with most sides struggling at the bottom, home form is crucial and that has at least been something Getafe have got right of late, avoiding defeat in each of their last five matches at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez (W3, D2). Extending that run against a relegation rival could go a long way to securing their safety, and the omens look positive as the Azulones have never lost a top-flight home H2H (W3, D3).
They’ll face an Almería side who are “focused on moving forward” according to boss Rubi after a 2-1 defeat to Athletic Bilbao at the weekend. That was a second consecutive defeat for the Rojiblancos, with only a positive H2H record keeping them above the relegation places ahead of this high-stakes affair.
If Almería is to secure a second season back in the top flight, a first league away win of the campaign would certainly be welcome (D4, L10). They’re one of just two sides across Europe’s top-five leagues yet to taste victory on the road this term alongside Serie A’s Hellas Verona, with Almería’s last away success at this level coming back in February 2015. Whatever the outcome though, entertainment seems certain to follow as Almería’s league matches this term have averaged 2.93 goals per game - more than any other side in the division.
📋 Players to watch: Getafe frontman Borja Mayoral has scored their only goal so far in April, and has a habit for leaving his strikes late, with three of his seven LL goals this term arriving after the 75th minute. Opposite number Leo Baptistão has enjoyed facing Getafe throughout his career (W5, L2), while he also netted the winner in this season’s reverse fixture (ALM 1-0).
⚡ Hot streak: Each of the last four top-flight H2Hs ended 1-0 (GET: W1, L3).
Celta Vigo vs Elche - Match Preview
⚽ 26 April 2023 - 20:00 GMT +0
Few were surprised when Celta Vigo’s brave Bernabéu stand against Real Madrid ended, as a goal either side of the break condemned them to a 2-0 loss last time out. And while the gap from danger remains a comfortable one, a run of four games without victory keeps some of their fans doubting, as may Celta’s previous La Liga (LL) results when starting a game as favourites (W7, D4, L5) as they do here.
That record is all the more patchy if isolating the home games within it (W4, D4, L3), with a 1-0 loss to Mallorca in their most recent Balaídos outing amongst the defeats. But they still have a long-standing reputation for defensive solidity after scoring first on home turf, with nine of the Celestes’ ten home victories posted since the start of 2022 saw them register a shutout.
Despite losing for the eighth time across ten LL rounds in Sunday’s meek 2-0 surrender to Valencia, Elche won’t see relegation mathematically confirmed before the upcoming weekend’s round. But after a fifth successive beating, they remain in more danger than ever of becoming the first side not to hit 20 points in a LL campaign this century, as they travel to a ground that has delivered defeat in both of their last two visits.
Elche have also returned to their woeful ways on hostile turf too, losing three road trips in succession after a solitary away triumph against Mallorca in early March. And in a stat that demonstrates their lack of tenacity just before the break, the Franjiverdes still lament a runaway league-high of first-half away goals conceded after the half-hour mark (13).
📋 Players to watch: Combined, Iago Aspas and Gabri Veiga still account for a majority (21) of Celta’s 36 LL goals this term, with either man netting a brace in six of the Celestes’ last eight home wins. Contrastingly, talismanic figures are in short supply amongst the visitors, though Tete Morente remains their sole scorer across the ongoing losing streak, with two of his three competitive strikes this term coming in stoppage time.
⚡ Hot stat: Just one of the previous ten H2H meetings has seen both teams score before halftime.
Rayo Vallecano vs Barcelona - Match Preview
⚽ 26 April 2023 - 20:00 GMT +0
Rayo Vallecano’s hopes of securing European football next season suffered yet another setback at the weekend as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Real Sociedad. Finishing the round in ninth and seven points adrift of the top six, coach Andoni Iraola stated his team “can’t afford” to repeat their mistakes from that loss going forward, especially as that result extended their poor recent run to just one win in ten league matches (D5, L4). They are, though, still in line to match or better the top-eight finish from their 2012/13 campaign which remains the club’s best-ever top-flight placing.
Trying to rectify their poor recent form against La Liga’s (LL) runaway leaders Barcelona is a daunting task, but they can take some comfort in going unbeaten across three H2Hs (W2, D1), their joint-longest such streak. A stand-alone new record in this H2H might not be so far-fetched when you note Iraola’s side is actually unbeaten in five of their last six home matches (W2, D3).
Barcelona hasn’t been at their best in recent weeks either but did manage to secure what could be a significant 1-0 win against Atlético Madrid on Sunday. That ended a three-game scoreless sequence (D2, L1), maintained their lead at the top to 11 points and handed them a 23rd clean sheet from their 30 LL outings - one of which came in the reverse in August (0-0).
Although Barcelona will hope Sunday’s win can give them the platform to kick on again, the frugal nature of their defence combined with their recent goal-shy attacking output means that the first goal could prove key here and notably, five of their last eight LL matches (W6, D1, L1) ended 1-0.
📋 Players to watch: On-loan striker Sergio Camello could be the one to get Vallecano going, having netted their first goal with four of his last five league strikes. Looking for a similar impact could be Ferran Torres who will be hoping to score in consecutive league games for the first time in more than a year, after scoring Barcelona’s winner against Atlético.
⚡ Hot stat: Ahead of this round, Barcelona has conceded a league-low 3.07 corners per game in this campaign.
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