Real Madrid v Real Betis
All of the games taking place on Friday and Saturday on the final weekend of the La Liga Santander season are taking place then for a reason. It’s because there is nothing at all at stake in these matches that they’ve been moved away from the simultaneous time slots of Sunday.
Real Madrid vs Real Betis is, therefore, an attractive match-up, but one that ultimately means very little since Los Blancos have already clinched the title and Real Betis can no longer qualify for the Champions League. The Green and Whites will either stay in fifth or drop to sixth, but they’ll qualify for the Europa League group stage either way.
Even though there is little at stake, Carlo Ancelotti will want his Real Madrid side to put on a show. Since they wrapped up the title with weeks to spare, the Italian coach has been naming strong line-ups for Real Madrid’s home games, putting on a show for the paying customers, such as with the recent 6-0 win over Levante in the last home game. Then, he has been carrying out rotations in the away matches.
Ancelotti is expected to make this a dress rehearsal for the Champions League final and that’s why the champions should be heavily favoured. Karim Benzema is one goal away from becoming the club’s second-top goalscorer of all time and is priced at 1.6 to score at any time on the night. For him to net in yet another Real Madrid would come as no surprise, sending Los Blancos off to Paris with confidence.
Rayo Vallecano v Levante
After a run of 13 without a win in La Liga, Rayo Vallecano have now gone four consecutive games unbeaten, and they’ve done so by going back to basics. Andoni Iraola has seen his team pick up eight points through only three goals. This more conservative approach reflects Iraola’s solution to the goals drying up as 34-year-old captain Óscar Trejo’s form has faded, going from nine assists in his first 18 games this season to none in his previous 14.
Rayo Vallecano vs Levante is another game with nothing at stake, as the home side are safe and the visitors are already relegated. But, it could also be a fun game as these are two teams capable of scoring and conceding.
Even though Radamel Falcao became more of a bench player at Rayo Vallecano as the season progressed, there is a good chance he’ll start here so that the home crowd in Vallecas can enjoy the fan favourite striker. That gives Rayo’s attack an extra edge, especially since four of the Colombian’s six goals this season have come at home.
He’ll be able to cause problems for a Levante defence that is by far the worst in LaLiga with 74 goals conceded, 10 more than second-worst Alavés’ 64. Although Levante tightened up their defence a little bit in recent weeks by switching to a back five formation, they did away with that and played a back four last weekend in their first match since their relegation was confirmed, which they won 3-1 vs Alavés.
It seems, therefore, that Levante coach Alessio Lisci is taking off the handbrake now that survival isn’t a possibility and letting his squad’s quality forwards, like José Luis Morales and Roger Martí, do their thing.
This should, therefore, be an open game and we should expect goals, although it must also be pointed out that the bookies know this too and that’s why the odds for this are just 1.57.
Valencia v Celta Vigo
The only game taking place in La Liga on Saturday is the mid-table duel between Valencia and Celta Vigo. This could be a tough watch, as most Valencia games have been of late. José Bordalás’ side have been playing with a back five and, across their past eight matches, there have been just 1.75 total goals on average, the second-fewest in this category of all teams in the division.
Even though Celta Vigo usually play more ambitious football than Valencia, they too are likely to start three centre-backs for this game. That’s not by choice, but the two holding midfielders who would normally play in their non-negotiable 4-1-3-2 system, Fran Beltrán and Renatio Tapia, are out with injury and suspension respectively. Celta Vigo have options in their B team, such as Gabriel Veiga, but the B team have a very important match in their promotion bid on Saturday. So, Celta are expected to instead field a third centre-back in that position.
So, there should be at least six centre-backs on the pitch, while some of the best attacking talent will be missing. At Valencia, for example, Gonçalo Guedes hasn’t been starting because the club will have to pay a big bonus to PSG if he plays more than 45 minutes in any more games this season. At Celta Vigo, meanwhile, starting striker Santi Mina has been suspended after his recent prison sentence. This could be a very tough watch, then, with not many goals to end these two clubs’ seasons
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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