Spanish football heats up over the weekend as La Liga frontrunners Real Madrid and Barcelona find themselves level on points, and both facing bottom-half teams away from home. An intense local derby mid-table fight for a European spot between Villarreal and Valencia is the highlight of the remaining fixtures in the Spanish league and offers some interesting options for La Liga betting in Week 32.
Focused and determined to climb the ladder, Celta have hit their stride following an unpredictable restart to the league. Although currently positioned in 16th place, Celta Vigo fans have seen their side score seven goals in their last two fixtures, picking up the same number of points in their four fixtures since the restart.
Knowing an empty stadium against the current champions will not add much to their home advantage, Óscar García Junyent will hope for continuing solidity from his side; Celta have only conceded once in their last seven games, and should not be written off easily.
A 71st-minute strike from Croatian substitute Ivan Rakitic was enough to ensure the win for Barcelona last weekend against Athletic Bilbao. Although level on points with the league leaders, Real Madrid’s head-to-head advantage means that Barcelona will need to finish at least one point above their rivals in order to claim their 27th La Liga title.
Despite the fact that they have dominated in their head-to-head record against Celta Vigo, Quique Setién’s team are by no means entitled to the win. With Celta widely considered one of Barcelona’s bogey teams of recent seasons, Barca fans will undoubtedly look towards their Argentinian talisman Lionel Messi to lead the line and ensure the full three points.
Two losses and a draw in their previous three fixtures have seen RCD Espanyol slip down the table into last spot. With a game against the current first place holders Real Madrid this Sunday, Abelardo Fernández must get his team’s act together, and fast, to spare his side from any embarrassment on the field.
With the worst points tally and goal difference in the league, RCD Espanyol are unfancied and all but consigned to relegation. However, fans of the Blanquiazules will no doubt expect their side to come out with all guns blazing, ready and willing to fight for their pride.
Seeking his second La Liga trophy as a manager, Zinedine Zidane has seen his side win all of their last four fixtures. Level with Barcelona (but clinching first place due to their head-to-head record), Real Madrid must aim to push away from the champions this weekend as they take on RCD Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium.
Midfield maestro Luka Modric will be suspended after accumulating his fifth yellow card, which means that Real Madrid fans may witness the return of Carlos Casemiro to the lineup, supported by both Kroos and Valverde in the midfield. With goals a-plenty coming from all areas of the team since the restart, youngsters Mariano Diaz and Vinicius Junior will look to get in on the action if they make it into the lineup.
Following three consecutive wins in the league, Villarreal shared the spoils of their last game with Sevilla last Monday in a 2-2 draw at home. Ahead of their next game, good news is emanating from the Estadio de la Cerámica; Villarreal captain Bruno Soriano may be set for his first league start in over three years.
With an intense derby against rivals Valencia on the horizon, Javier Calleja must push his team to take advantage of their opponent’s poor form and overcome the recent one-sided history of this match-up.
With only one win in their last five fixtures, losing to both Eibar and Real Madrid and sharing points with Levante and Deportivo Alaves, Valencia have allowed themselves to slip down the La Liga table, dropping down a couple of positions since the restart.
With a derby against Villarreal on the cards this Sunday, Los Murcelagos must gather themselves and forget about their recent troubles. Albert Celades must look to ensure his players are ready to make a statement, as three points could prove vital for his team’s campaign to get back into European football, hurling them into sixth-place if results go their way.
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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.
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