All times are local to matches. Lets get started.
Espanyol hosts Cordoba 20:45
Cordoba has now lost five straight matches in La Liga and will be fighting for their lives to avoid relegation, though they are five points below the last spot. It will be a real uphill battle to avoid relegation. The Catalan side is also coming off a defeat to Getafe after gaining points against Athletic and Malaga. They are currently sitting comfortably at ninth, but will want to finish a good season. Leading goal scorer Sergio Garcia returns from suspension to head the Espanyol attack. Patrick Ekeng is still serving a suspension at Cordoba. Expect the hosts to win comfortably.
Check the site’s multiple previews! I will also stop saying that FCB will win every match in this section, as well. My bad.
Despite Levante’s 5-0 loss to Barcelona, they have secured victories against Malaga and Granada on either side. Rayo went from a surprise defeat of Villareal to a loss at Athletic Club. Levante have been in good scoring form over the last few games, and will look to ride the momentum from a late comeback against Granada. David Barral and Kalu Uche have led the attack and will look to continue the scoring. Ivan Ramis was shown a straight red and will be unavailable. On the Rayo side, ‘keeper Tono and Mohammed Fatau will miss action. Levante will be pushing to get out of the relegation zone (they are currently one point out), while Rayo also needs to keep winning to assure safety. Expect a hard fought match that could go either way.
Almeria hosts Deportivo La Coruna 20:00
Both sides have collected seven points in their last five matches, going from mediocre to worse. Almeria played bravely in spite of a 3 goal loss to Atletico. La Coruna has been able to beat other struggling teams such as Rayo and Eibar, though Almeria has also found a way to beat other relegation battlers in the last month. Almeria may play with their lineup, as it has not proven fruitful of late, though Corona has put in consistent and good performances as a deep lying midfielder. Almeria have played better than their points total suggests. Expect them to nick the visitors at home this weekend.
Malaga hosts Getafe 22:00
Malaga had looked up and down and in danger of losing all hope of battling into the top six, but then they went ahead and won at the Camp Nou for the first time since, like, 1736, thanks to a Dani Alves gift and a fine defensive performance. Getafe has also been manic depressive, or at least just not very good on the road. They have won their last three home games, but have not won in six straight attempts on the road. Malaga also will see one of their best midfielders, Ignacio Camacho return to action this week. Inversely, Getafe will miss talented midfielder Mehdi Lacen due to accumulation of yellow cards. Expect a better Malaga side to win at home.
Valencia continue to climb ahead of Sevilla for the last Champions League spot. Surprisingly, RSD put on a fireworks show in a 4-3 win against now struggling Sevilla to help them out. The four goal outing makes up about 15% of RSD’s total goals scored this year, so it’s likely an outlier performance. Moyes seems to be figuring out this La Liga thing, and is helping RSD to a more respectable finish as was expected this year. Valencia are a top La Liga team, with Piatti, Gaya, Otamendi, and Parejo continuing their solid play. RSD are great at getting men in the box and then letting midfielders rip off long shots, which has worked fairly well and could come into play against a Valencia squad that has trouble defending this play. However, RSD can be broken down by skillful players and Valencia have those. Expect Valencia to keep pushing towards the top three.
Eibar hosts Athletic Club 17:00
Eibar and Athletic are now tied with 27 points after an Eibar loss and an Athletic win. Eibar was surprising a lot of people, but have now lost five straight matches. With a good amount of the season left they will have to play well to avoid relegation. Athletic Club has been earning points, getting 11 out of a possible 18 in their last six matches, playing strong defense and avoiding mistakes. As much fun as Eibar has been, they have played over their heads for the most part, while Athletic is starting to play to their potential. Athletic Club’s style translates well to road games, and I expect them to either win by a goal or grind out a draw.
Sevilla hosts Atletico Madrid 19:00
Both clubs have seen a loss of form as of late, with Sevilla quickly losing out on their chances for Champions League with three losses in four Liga matches. Atletico saw a real dip after killing Real Madrid several weeks ago, but bounced back against a feisty Almeria with a 3-0 win. They are, however, coming off a somewhat surpsing loss to Bayern Leverkusen on Wednesday in the Champions League. We all know Atletico’s strengths, which will be useful against a Sevilla side that has trouble with set pieces and counter attacks. Expect Atletico to attack down the right and to grab a goal from a set piece or a Sevilla mistake. Expect Sevilla to keep rotating that lineup.
Real Madrid hosts Villareal 21:00
This is probably the best game this week in terms of talent. More talent may be on the way back, as rumours of Modric’s return swirl about. Not having their best player and RMD loanee Denis Cheryshev will hurt Villareal, who lost at home 0-2 to Madrid earlier in the year. Although Madrid has not inspired fear in teams lately, they’ve done the important thing and won most of their games. With Barcelona slipping to Malaga they have the opportunity to take a firm hold over La Liga. I expect some scoring in this match, and Villareal have been one of the best away clubs in La Liga this season, but Madrid are clear favorites, especially if Modric returns in full form.
Have a lovely weekend, folks!
VISCA EL BARÇA, VISCA L'ESPECTACLE
- FC Barcelona News: 27 February 2015; New York City FC Still Interested in Xavi, Bartomeu to Promise Paul Pogba in Elections
- UEFA Champions League: Manchester City 1-2 FC Barcelona: Player Ratings
- FC Barcelona News: 26 February 2015; Sergio Busquets Extends Contract till 2019, Preparations Begin for Granada Match
- "Hey! Look! We Were Wrong!" - On The English Media and FC Barcelona
- A Look at Andrés Iniesta's New Role