Barcelona and Real Madrid may be skipping this round, but there’s enough to sink your teeth into. Football Espana summarises La Liga’s best of the rest…
1. Barca title without a ball kicked!
Barcelona will win the Liga title without kicking a ball if Atletico Madrid lose at home to in-form Real Betis on Sunday. Atleti’s 3-0 defeat to Real Sociedad midweek left them 12 points behind Barca, and their inferior head-to-head means the Catalans simply need to match the outcome of Los Rojiblancos’ match tomorrow when they travel to Deportivo La Coruna next week. Whatever happens, Wanda Metropolitano is the place to be this weekend as it will also host Saturday’s Copa del Rey Final between Sevilla – and Barca.
2. Valencia can lock down the CL
Back-to-back defeats have left Valencia’s return to the Champions League on ice, but a victory over Celta Vigo on Saturday, followed by Real Betis losing to Atletico Madrid. will see them through. Valencia will be without Jose Luis Gaya and captain Dani Parejo against Celta, who pushed Barcelona all the way in a 2-2 draw last time out and have yet to lose at home in 2018, but Marcelino’s side have shown resilience whenever it’s been needed this season. Needless to say, Los Che need it now more than ever.
3. A Catalan derby without Quique
Montilivi will witness its first-ever Catalan derby between Girona and Espanyol on Sunday, and the fortunes of the two sides couldn’t be any more contrasting. Girona ended a run of four games without a win by picking up a 2-1 victory over Alaves midweek, which strengthened their grip on eighth place in La Liga and kept them just four points off a European spot. Espanyol, on the other hand, are down in 16th after five matches without a goal or win and are without a Coach, having recently sacked Quique Sanchez Flores.
4. Las Palmas the next to go
Las Palmas’ inevitable relegation will be confirmed if they fail to beat Alaves on Sunday. It comes as Levante enjoy a 13-point cushion on the islanders and possess a superior head-to-head, having won both of their meetings with Paco Jemez’s side this season. If Jemez didn’t show leadership in the past then he certainly hasn’t since, even accepting his side ‘cannot expect’ to stay in La Liga just two days before their do-or-die encounter on home soil. What was once a fairy-tale has descended into farce.