Espanyol vs Alaves
RCDE Stadium, Barcelona
Saturday, 13-06-2020 @3pm
Ref: Pablo Gonzalez
With 11 games remaining, Espanyol find themselves bottom of the La Liga table and last season’s seventh-placed finish, which rewarded them with a spot in the Europa League, is a distant memory.
European football has been an unhealthy distraction for Espanyol, who are six points adrift of safety having won only four of their 27 league encounters.
However, Espanyol reached the knockout stages of the Europa League, topping a section including Ludogorets, Ferencvaros and CSKA Moscow before being dumped out by Premier League Wolves, and are evidently better than their league position implies.
Results should improve now their European adventure is over and we are predicting them to start positively on La Liga’s return against Alaves.
Espanyol have lost only one of their last seven home games, albeit five of those contests finished as draws.
Abelardo Fernandez’s side held bitter rivals Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Atheltico Bilbao and Real Betis to a point in that period and may have to settle for another stalemate against a plucky Alaves.
Alaves have won only two of their 13 away league games this term and, although they are 12 points better off than Espanyol in the La Liga table, have plenty to prove on their travels.
Despite their inconsistent away form, Alaves have scored in nine of their 13 road contests, including on trips to Barcelona, Sevilla and Valencia, and have enough attacking quality through the likes of Lucas Perez, Joselu and Oliver Burke to make their mark here.
Victory may ultimately prove beyond Alaves but they have avoided defeat in seven of their last nine La Liga contests and they are a very difficult side to beat under the stewardship of Asier Garitano.
Alaves and Espanyol shared the spoils in August’s reverse fixture and the pair could be difficult to separate once more.
Five of Espanyol’s last seven home games have finished as draws, three of which ended 1-1. Alaves have won only two of their 13 away league games this term. Both teams have scored in seven of Espanyol’s last nine league contests.
Celta Vigo vs Villarreal
Saturday, 13-06-2020 @8:30pm
Ref: Valentine Pizzaro
A run of just one defeat in nine league games has moved Celta Vigo out of the relegation places and they can continue where they left off with victory over Villarreal.
Celta have won only five of their 27 league games – only rock-bottom Espanyol have recorded fewer wins – but four of those victories have come at home and it is where they are at their most productive.
The Sky Blues have claimed 17 of their 26 points on home soil and are unbeaten in six after consecutive league triumphs against Sevilla (2-1) and Leganes (1-0).
Celta’s upturn in form has also seen them earn a 2-2 draw at La Liga giants Real Madrid and with Iago Aspas and Russian international Fyodor Smolov leading the line, there is too much quality in their ranks to suggest they could endure relegation.
Celta have won the last three league meetings between the pair, which includes a 3-1 victory at Villarreal earlier in the season, and the form book suggests they can upset them again.
Villarreal suffered three consecutive La Liga defeats prior to the Coronavirus pandemic and could be set for a fourth at a steadily improving Celta Vigo outfit.
The Yellow Submarine have lost eight of their 14 away games this term, which includes each of their last two at Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, and defensively have plenty to prove.
Villarreal are without a clean sheet in nine league games and have managed just two shutouts in 14 attempts on the road.
Javier Calleja’s side have also suffered road upsets at Levante (13th), Eibar (16th) and Mallorca (18th) this season and are worth opposing at a Celta Vigo side far better than their league position implies.
To Villarreal’s credit, however, they do pack a punch going forward – they have failed to score in only one of their 14 La Liga away games this season.
Celta Vigo have lost only one of their last nine La Liga games. Villarreal have won only one of their last five league encounters, suffering back-to-back away defeats. Both teams have scored in each of the last four meetings, with Celta Vigo winning the last three including a 3-1 win at Villarreal earlier in the campaign.
Leganes vs Valladolid
Estadio Municipal de Bartaque, Leganes
Saturday, 13-06-2020 @8:30
Ref: Mario Malero
While Leganes are in the drop zone going into the La Liga restart, Real Valladolid are not clear of relegation themselves and we’re predicting it will be difficult to separate at Butarque.
A lack of quality in the final third continues to fluster visitors Valladolid, who have lost three of their last five contests and have netted more than one goal in only one of their last eight contests.
Spanish striker Sergi Guardiola is the club’s top scorer with only six goals in all competitions and failure to see off lowly Leganes could drag them closer to danger.
But goals have also been a problem for hosts Leganes, who have failed to score in 12 of their 27 matches this season – only Mallorca (13) have drawn blanks in more games.
Their home contests have featured an average of 2.29 goals per game while Valladolid’s away contests have seen 2.07 per match, indicating that this could be a low-scoring encounter.
While both sides have been faltering in the final third, their defensive records have been mediocre.
Leganes, although in the bottom three, have conceded fewer goals than the likes of Real Betis, Levante and Eibar above them and the same number as European-chasing Valencia.
As for Valladolid, their tally of 33 goals conceded in 27 matches is the lowest in La Liga’s bottom half.
With both sides fairly sturdy at the back but often unable to polish off opponents, backing a stalemate could be the way to go.
Each of Leganes’s last two home matches in La Liga finished as draws. Both teams have scored in four of Real Valladolid’s previous five league games. A combined 11 of Leganes and Real Valladolid’s matches have finished 1-1 in La Liga this season.
Mallorca vs Barcelona
Iberoster Estadi, Palma de Mallorca
Saturday, 13-06-2020 @11pm
Ref: Carlos del Cerro
Barcelona have conceded in 10 of their 13 La Liga away games this season. Mallorca have scored in seven of their last 10 at home in La Liga. Barcelona have won their last six meetings with Mallorca, scoring 24 goals in the process. Mallorca have lost four of their last six La Liga home games.
It’s been a very long three months since Mallorca picked up a crucial 2-1 win away to fellow relegation candidates Eibar, but they return to action this weekend with one of the toughest fixtures on the calendar.
Los Bermellones, who currently sit 18th in the La Liga table and a point from safety, have managed to pick up points in three of their last four league games.
However, they have lost more games (16) than any other top flight side this season, and their chances of avoiding a 17th are slim on Saturday.
Barcelona resume play in the enviable position at the top of the Spanish ladder, two points clear of Real Madrid despite their 2-0 defeat at the Bernabeu at the start of March.
They have won five of their last six outings in the league and, with no more league meetings with their great rivals, another La Liga title is well within their reach.
That being said, it’s not all been plain sailing for Barca this season, especially away from home. They have won just five of their last 10 La Liga away days and have conceded 14 goals in the process.
In fact, they have shipped some 10 goals in their last five away matches alone, and while Mallorca aren’t the most talented going forward they have still found the net in seven of their last 10 home matches.
The other Spanish La Liga match-day 28 fixtures
-Bilbao vs Atletico @3pm
-Real Madrid vs Eibar @8:30pm
-Sociedad vs Osasuna @11pm
Results on Match-day 28 so far
-Sevilla 2-0 Real Betis
-Granada 2-1 Getafe
-Valencia 1-1 Levante