Sunday February 12 2017
La Liga Week 22 Preview

A full-blown clash for survival between Leganes and Sporting Gijon is the pick of Week 22’s remaining action in La Liga.

Saturday addressed matters at the top, with Real Madrid beating Osasuna 3-1 to restore their lead and Barcelona destroying Alaves 6-0 in a dress rehearsal of the Copa del Rey final.

Elsewhere, Real Sociedad ended Espanyol’s run of wins to move fourth, Valencia escaped Real Betis with a 0-0 draw and Aritz Aduriz’s last-gasp finish secured a 2-1 win for Athletic Bilbao against Deportivo La Coruna.

Leganes go into their game with Sporting five points clear and directly above their 18th-placed visitors, who have yet to win under new boss Rubi, but neither team have recorded a victory in 2017.

Nonetheless, in what has been billed as ‘the match of fear’ by Marca due to the ramifications of a defeat, this is a six-pointer in every sense. Not only would victory ease one side's relegation fears, it'd have the bonus of pushing the defeated side further into danger.

Kicking off Sunday’s fixtures, however, is Villarreal-Malaga, with both sides in serious need of the points.

A run of only one win in five matches has left the Yellow Submarine eight points behind the Champions League places and clinging onto sixth.

Malaga, on the other hand, still haven’t triumphed under Juande Ramos’ successor Marcelo Romero, resulting in the Andalusians dropping to 14th.

Worse yet, they have won just once at the newly-renamed La Ceramica in 11 attempts and are sorely depleted, with top goalscorer Sandro Ramirez among those missing.

Moving east to Gran Canaria, Las Palmas host Sevilla in a game that could define either side’s season.

The islanders have been boosted by the signings of Alen Halilovic and Jese Rodriguez but lost 1-0 to relegation-threatened Granada last Monday, leaving them with no away wins since the opening day of the campaign and only four victories in their last 16 League matches.

However, they are one of two teams – along with Madrid – still unbeaten at home, although Sevilla have won five of their last seven on the road.

Nonetheless, Jorge Sampaoli’s troops have fallen behind Barca after a loss and draw in their last two games and not beaten Las Palmas away from home in over two decades.

Their League rivals Atletico Madrid take on Celta Vigo in the evening, both teams fresh from being eliminated in the Copa semi-finals.

Los Colchoneros may have to make do without captain Diego Godin after his knock against Barca midweek, but they have won four of their last six in La Liga, with Diego Simeone yet to lose to the inconsistent Galicians at home in the League.

Rounding off Week 22 is Granada’s trip to a resurgent Eibar, who put two heavy defeats to Atleti and the champions behind them with a draw and two big wins, including a 4-0 thrashing of Valencia last weekend.

However, Granada showed in their win against Las Palmas – their first since December 2 – that survival had not eluded them just yet, the result leaving Lucas Alcaraz’s outfit five points within reach.

La Liga Week 22 Fixtures – Sunday and Monday

Villarreal v Malaga (11:00 GMT)

Leganes v Sporting Gijon (15:15)

Las Palmas v Sevilla (17:30)

Atletico Madrid v Celta Vigo (19:45)

Eibar v Granada (Monday, 19:45)

Football Italia website