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28 Apr 2023 / admin

Soccer Spain LaLiga Prediction

Elche vs Rayo Vallecano - Match Preview

⚽ 29 April 2023 - 14:15 GMT +0

Elche’s miserable La Liga (LL) farewell tour most recently took them to Celta Vigo for a 1-0 loss, the fifth time in their last six outings that they failed to get on the scoresheet (L6). Nothing less than seven consecutive wins and a lot of luck would be enough to prevent a relegation that has appeared imminent for many months now.

That aura of inevitability was confirmed when manager Sebastián Beccacece committed to a long-term “investment” in Elche’s eventual return to the top flight, but it may not be long before his own bosses question his position after he’s added further to what was already the worst start to a tenure by an Elche manager this century. One of the very few positives he can point to is his side conceding two or fewer goals in four consecutive outings after being hit 3+ nine times throughout the season.

They lost 2-1 to upcoming opponents Rayo Vallecano in the first of their three 5+ game LL losing streaks, a result that Vallecano replicated against likely champions Barcelona on a magical Wednesday evening at the Estadio de Vallecas. Their European ambitions appeared quashed a fortnight ago when they were tumbling from fifth to ninth after eight games without a victory (D5, L3), but clutch home wins against both Barça and Osasuna (also 2-1) have kept the dream alive.

Vallecano’s attacking unit has been humming with goals in six consecutive LL outings, but seven without a clean sheet has held back their progress. One could reasonably expect that a matchup with Elche should help them get back on the right path, but Vallecano has won just one of their five LL away trips to clubs starting this round 15th or lower (D2, L2).

📋 Key battle: Coming into the round, Elche goalkeeper Édgar Badía had the highest average LL goals conceded per 90 (two) of any shot-stopper with at least 12 starts, and even has more yellow cards (two) than clean sheets (one) this LL season! Sergio Camello currently averages more shots per 90 minutes (2.75) than any teammate and scored before half-time against Badía in the reverse H2H.

Hot stat: All but one of Vallecano’s last seven LL wins were by a single-goal margin.

Real Madrid vs Almeria - Match Preview

⚽ 29 April 2023 - 16:30 GMT +0

“It’s never good to lose, but maybe this loss could be a wake-up call,” Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said following Tuesday’s 4-2 La Liga (LL) defeat to Girona. Even if their title defence is effectively over with Barcelona 11 points clear, it was a bad time to produce such a poor performance with a UEFA Champions League semi-final and the Copa del Rey final inching ever closer.

In the meantime, they need to lift themselves to face Almería, as they now face a challenge from city rivals Atlético to finish second in the table. With their cushion standing at just two points, returning to the Bernabéu should suit Los Blancos, who’s only lost one of their last 19 home league fixtures (W13, D5) and won all six previous home H2Hs.

Having beaten fellow strugglers Getafe 2-1 on Wednesday, Almería have moved clear of the bottom three and seems to be finding patches of decent form at the perfect time (W2, D2, L2). That was their seventh successive fixture in which both teams scored (W2, D2, L3) and the fourth in a row to end 2-1 (W2, L2), so they’re typically a good team to follow if it’s goals you’re after.

That victory at nearby Getafe was their first LL away win since February 2015 (D4, L17), so the chances of another raid in Madrid seem remote, but the fact they have scored in each of their last five league away fixtures (W1, D1, L3) does suggest another shock can’t be completely dismissed, especially if Madrid’s focus is drifting towards challenges to come rather than what’s immediately in front of them.

📋 Players to watch: Madrid defender Lucas Vázquez doesn’t score often, but he netted in midweek and against Almería in August, both times doing so after the 60th minute. Luis Suárez was Almería’s midweek hero with a brace against Getafe, meaning he’s scored three of his four LL goals this term before the 30th minute.

Hot streak: Each of Almería’s last three LL games witnessed scoring inside the first ten minutes.

Barcelona vs Betis - Match Preview

⚽ 29 April 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0

Barcelona coach Xavi was left ‘annoyed’ by a surprise 2-1 defeat against Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday, but the Blaugrana remain in pole position to secure a first title since 2019 thanks to their 11-point lead ahead of this round. Their huge lead at the summit is perhaps sparking worries about motivation levels amongst the squad, with Barça victorious in just one of their last five matches (W1, D2, L2).

Despite conceding two against Rayo, the hosts (11 conceded) are in line to better the all-time joint-best defensive record for a 38-game La Liga (LL) campaign (18). Returning to Spotify Camp Nou could boost their plans as Barcelona have conceded only two league goals there this campaign - one from a penalty and the other an own goal!

Xavi doesn’t have happy memories of facing Real Betis, though, with the 1-0 loss here last campaign being his first defeat as Barça coach. After a goalless draw against Real Sociedad last matchday, Los Verdiblancos failed to reduce the gap in the race for UEFA Champions League qualification with coach Manuel Pellegrini admitting they are “fighting for the Europa League and everything else is a dream.”

That’s largely down to a poor run of results in the league which has seen them win just one of their last five matches (D1, L3). Pellegrini doesn’t exactly have a strong history against Barcelona to call upon to put that right either, with the Chilean losing 23 of his 32 meetings in his illustrious career. Improving that will require an improvement on the road where Betis are winless in over two months in all competitions (D1, L3), losing both of their last two away matches in LL.

📋 Players to watch: Robert Lewandowski scored the consolation goal for Barça against Rayo and also netted the decisive goal in a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture. Sergio Canales’ contributions may also prove significant, as two of his four H2H goal involvements (G2, A2) have come in wins.

Hot stat: There hasn’t been a league H2H draw at this venue since May 2007 (Barcelona: W10, L2).

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