Soccer Spain LaLiga Prediction
Girona vs Mallorca - Match Preview
⚽ 4 May 2023 - 17:30 GMT +0
European football next term remains a possibility for Girona considering they’ve lost just one of their last seven La Liga (LL) fixtures (W4, D2) following Monday night’s 2-0 win over Sevilla. They’ll probably need some favourable results from other sides, but heading into matchday 33 within striking distance of seventh place – which will offer a European place should Real Madrid win the Copa del Rey – is a scenario few expected after promotion last term.
Key to their late-season success has been their form as hosts, suffering just one defeat in six home league games (W5), a run which includes a 4-2 victory over reigning champions Real Madrid in their last home game. Matches here haven’t been short of action either, as there’ve been three red cards shown in Girona’s last three home league fixtures, all of which they won by scoring at least twice.
Mallorca was seconds away from beating Athletic Bilbao on Monday night – a result which would also have helped Girona – so will see the eventual 1-1 draw as two points dropped after they conceded with the last kick of the game. Starting the round just outside the top half, Mallorca are comfortably on course to better last season’s 16th-place finish.
However, if anything is going to jeopardise that, it could be their travelling form as Mallorca has suffered seven defeats across their last nine LL away games (W1, D1), with a return of just one clean sheet during that sequence going some way to explaining their plight. However, they did win 1-0 here last term courtesy of a fifth-minute strike, and having scored first in each of their last two away games, another good start could lead to a repeat.
📋 Players to watch: Fresh from making history by scoring four times against Madrid, Taty Castellanos netted again on Monday with his sixth goal in his last three appearances. Mallorca’s man in form is Lee Kang-In, who’s netted three times in their last three fixtures, twice between the 55th and 60th minute.
⚡ Hot streak: Each of the last 11 H2Hs produced under 2.5 goals (Mallorca: W4, D4, L3).
Sevilla vs Espanyol - Match Preview
⚽ 4 May 2023 - 17:30 GMT +0
Sevilla continues to produce surprise results in both the domestic and continental arenas, this time to their detriment after a 2-0 La Liga (LL) loss at home to Girona dented their hopes of sneaking into contention for European football next season. Even if Real Madrid wins the Copa del Rey final and seventh place subsequently enters the Europa Conference League play-off round, Sevilla has lost significant ground and now starts this round six points shy of that mark.
Keeping their eyes trained on that prospect should ensure they don’t fall into the trap of getting complacent against a lowly-ranked Espanyol side that is scrapping for their LL future. Sevilla has at least been fairly reliable when hosting clubs joining them in the bottom half of the standings at the start of this round, owning an unbeaten W5, D3 LL home record.
Just one week ago, a win against Espanyol would almost have been a near-certainty. The parrots seemingly had their wings clipped at the start of March, plummeting from 12th at the start of that month into the relegation zone with an eight-game winless run (D1, L7) that finally ended last weekend. Their 1-0 win at home saw them leapfrog direct competitors Getafe to 18th before the start of the midweek games, albeit that’s not yet enough to achieve survival.
Following his maiden LL win as a manager from five attempts (D1, L3), Luis García urged his players to enjoy the breakthrough with a whisky, but cautioned that they had merely “laid the first stone” and “have not done anything” to celebrate just yet. The next task is to earn just their second LL away win against a side above them in the standings at the end of the last round (D5, L8), particularly if Espanyol don’t want upcoming trips to Atlético Madrid or Barcelona to become ‘must wins’.
📋 Players to watch: Erik Lamela has played a goalscoring role in four competitive victories for Sevilla this season, including the reverse H2H and his second-previous home LL outing. Espanyol’s Joselu was also on the scoresheet in the previous meeting with Sevilla and needs one more goal to surpass his haul of 14 LL goals from last season.
⚡ Hot streak: The pre-match favourite on the day has failed to win Sevilla’s last seven competitive fixtures (D2, L5).
Ath Bilbao vs Betis - Match Preview
⚽ 4 May 2023 - 20:00 GMT +0
For Europeans chasing Athletic Bilbao and Real Betis, facing off at this stage of the season offers all the hallmarks of a ‘six-pointer’. Starting the round occupying the seventh spot, this is arguably a bigger game for Athletic, who know victory will be enough to see them leapfrog their visitors into LL’s sixth European spot, which currently remains the last one on offer pending the outcome of the Copa del Rey final.
Athletic may feel a sense of disappointment having already squandered the chance to move above Betis in the last round as they drew 1-1 against Mallorca, though they were fortunate to escape with a point considering they needed a contentious stoppage time penalty to draw level. That was a crushing blow and there are no guarantees of a response here, as Ernesto Valverde’s side has won just twice at Estadio San Mamés in league action this calendar year (D2, L4).
Enduring problems of their own of late, Real Betis also appear to be falling out of form at the most inopportune time. Eliminated from the UEFA Europa League and winning just two of their last nine LL games (D3, L4), Betis’ season is crumbling beneath them, with a bruising 4-0 defeat against Barcelona at the weekend sure to further dent confidence ahead of what looks to be a crucial match-up.
Returning to the road is unlikely to inspire hope of turning that form around either, as Betis have now lost three successive LL away outings. Not since June 2020 have Betis lost four travelling league games in a row, but as they travel to face an Athletic side they have only beaten seven times in 56 top-flight away H2Hs (D16, L33), losing the last eight on the bounce, Los Verdiblancos face the very real possibility of making unwanted history.
📋 Players to watch: Iñaki Williams is the only Athletic player to score in their last four home league games and has netted the game’s first in six of his last seven goalscoring appearances. Betis will be hoping Borja Iglesias can repeat the impact he’s had in six of his ten scoring outings this term when he scored the game-winning goal.
⚡ Hot streak: Betis boss Manuel Pellegrini is winless in his last six personals away H2Hs against Athletic (D2, L4).
Rayo Vallecano vs Valladolid - Match Preview
⚽ 4 May 2023 - 20:00 GMT +0
Andoni Iraola will be hoping his Rayo Vallecano side can kick-start their dream of qualifying for Europe for just the second time in their history as they look to bounce back from a 4-0 defeat to Elche. Iraola directly challenged his players to secure continental football earlier in the campaign. However, that defeat to Elche was their third loss in five La Liga (LL) games (W2), casting doubt not only on that target but also on their chances of securing a first top-half finish in a decade.
It has been a worrying run of form for Vallecano, who have in fact managed only a couple of victories in a dozen outings since early February (D5, L5). Those two victories have both come in their last two home games though, including pulling off a huge upset by beating Barcelona 2-1, so they should be confident of making it three league victories on the spin at Estadio de Vallecas for the first time since December 2021.
Looking to stop that from happening are struggling Real Valladolid, although they have a miserable record in H2Hs, winning just two of the last ten (D4, L4). The visitors also suffered a thumping 5-2 defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid on Sunday, meaning they have won only twice in eight league outings since early March (D2, L4), conceding a whopping 21 goals in the process!
Both of those victories have, however, come under new manager Paulo Pezzolano, who has been in charge for five games (D1, L2) and has given his side a real chance of staying up after being promoted last season. He will now be desperate to improve the club’s awful away record, which has seen them keep just one clean sheet and pick up only three victories in 16 matches on the road in the league this campaign (D2, L11).
📋 Key battle: Vallecano goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski has kept his joint-most clean sheets against Valladolid, four in six matches (W4, L2). He will be looking to extend that record against visiting striker Cyle Larin, who has netted seven times since joining ‘Pucelle’ in January, but picked up only two wins in seven goalscoring appearances (D1, L4).
⚡ Hot stat: Valladolid has the worst LL record this season when conceding the first goal, losing each of their 16 matches when doing so.
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