Predictions and Picks for La Liga Matchday 36 (2021)
The two big games at the weekend were supposed to decide how the race for the title would pan out. With Barcelona and Atletico playing out a goalless draw and Real Madrid and Sevilla sharing the points a day later, nothing much has changed at the top of La Liga.
There is a lot to play for down at the bottom of the league as well, where six clubs still have justifiable worries about being relegated.
There is a full set of midweek fixtures in the Spanish top-flight, and this betting preview will take a look at all ten fixtures and pick out three of the best bets.
Osasuna to Beat Cadiz
Both these clubs can regard themselves as safe from the drop and look forward to a stress-free few weeks until the end of the season. Osasuna can look to an excellent second half of the campaign for its continued top-flight status. Results have taken a turn for the worse in the last few weeks, but the draw against Athletic in the San Mames at the weekend – and the last-minute equalizer from Ante Budimir – exemplified the club’s determination.
Cadiz has also battled against much bigger clubs to earn its mid-table position this season. It took a flurry of goals just before the break to beat relegation-threatened Huesca at the weekend. After conceding an equalizer on what seemed to be the stroke of halftime, Cadiz forced the visitors into conceding an own goal and was able to hang on for the rest of the game. Three games unbeaten have seen Cadiz safe, so defeat on Tuesday will not matter.
Alaves to Beat Elche
This is probably the biggest game of the week at the foot of the table.
Fran Escriba’s side did well to hold Real Sociedad until the 72nd minute on Friday after having a man sent off within ten minutes. Another goal right at the end confirmed the defeat and made things very difficult for Elche.
Alaves has enjoyed a much better time of late but could still drop back into the bottom three with a defeat here. Javier Calleja’s side managed a late goal of its own to snatch a share of the points at home to Levante at the weekend and has now lost just once in the last six games. That kind of form will keep the Basque club up.
Barcelona to Beat Levante
The draw Levante managed with Alaves may have only brought the club a single point, but it has probably been enough to ensure La Liga status for another year. The Valencia club was unlucky not to take all three but succeeded in ending a four-game losing streak that had threatened to make life very difficult for Paco Lopez’s side. Levante is not completely safe, but even defeat to Barca on Tuesday shouldn’t have too much effect.
On the other hand, Barcelona absolutely must win this game to stay in the hunt for the La Liga title. After drawing with league leaders Atletico on Saturday, Ronald Koeman will have breathed a sigh of relief when Real could only manage the same result against Sevilla. Although the title is not in Barca’s hands now, it will feel as though it can win all three of its remaining games – starting with this one.
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Sevilla to Beat Valencia
How different would it have been if Sevilla had not conceded a stoppage-time goal to Real Madrid on Sunday? The game had been full of drama; Sevilla took the lead in the second half thanks to an Ivan Rakitic penalty, after VAR had taken away a spot-kick from Real. After the home defeat to Athletic the week before, Sevilla needed something from the weekend, but even a win here would still leave it as a rank outsider to snatch the league title.
Valencia beat Valladolid 3-0 on Sunday and eased any remaining fears of relegation. The real problems are all off the pitch at the moment for this club. Voro managed a first win in seven in his first game in charge, but the fans are not happy with the current owner and will now step up the protests demanding change at the top. Defeat to Sevilla on Wednesday will make no difference to the way they are feeling.
Celta Vigo to Beat Getafe
Celta Vigo was involved in one of the stranger games of the season at the weekend when it beat Villarreal away from home. There were three penalties and three red cards shared by both teams as the referee became the subject of scorn from the clubs and the media alike. The win does keep Celta’s faint European hopes alive, though – and another win on Wednesday could make things very interesting.
Getafe gave the bottom of the table Eibar renewed hope as it lost at home on Sunday to an 89th-minute penalty.
Another likely defeat here could spell real danger with just two games to go after matchday 36.
Athletic Club to Beat Huesca
A wonder strike from Rafa Mir was not enough to give Huesca the win against Cadiz at the weekend. The goal conceded immediately after the restart could be the pivotal moment in Huesca’s relegation battle. There has been just one win in the last five for Pacheta’s side, and now it must rely on other clubs slipping up if it is to stay in the top-flight.
Athletic could increase Huesca’s misery on Wednesday and stay in the hunt for a European place this season. The odds are not on the Basque club’s side, but a tenth consecutive unbeaten game would keep the pressure up on Celta Vigo and Betis. The problem for Athletic has been the number of draws. Only Valladolid has recorded more this season, and even just a few turning into victories would have made for a much different story.
Atletico Madrid to Beat Real Sociedad
Although Atletico could only draw with Barcelona on Saturday, it was a point won rather than two lost. The result was far better for Diego Simeone’s side as it keeps the title in its own hands. Three wins against Real Sociedad, Osasuna, and Valladolid would see the club finish top the table for the first time since 2014. After finishing second twice in three seasons, Atletico will believe that this is its year.
But it will need to overcome a very good Real Sociedad on Wednesday. La Real fell away from the Champions League places a while ago but has stayed on course for Europa League qualification once again – and won a delayed Copa del Rey final against its big Basque rival in the same season. Even defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano shouldn’t derail a top-six finish.
Valladolid to Beat Villarreal
Valladolid has only won two games in 2021 and lost 3-0 away to a club in turmoil, Valencia. Sunday halted a run of four consecutive draws. Still, there is a slight sense of hope at the club. Those draws came against some good teams, and Villarreal comes into this after playing many games in recent weeks. This is the one that Sergio Gonzalez’s side needs to win, though. There can’t be much expected from the games against Atletico and Real Sociedad, so this looks like the last chance for Valladolid.
Villarreal could also do with a win or two to consolidate a European place this season. But the big game for the Yellow Submarine is coming up at the end of the month. A Europa League final against Manchester United awaits, and it would not be a surprise if the concentration is not brilliant on Thursday.
All that combined could make for a surprise home win.
Eibar and Real Betis to Draw
After being unable to win back-to-back games all season, Eibar’s victory over Getafe at the weekend has given the Basque club renewed belief that the great escape could still be on. There had been five consecutive defeats before the last two games – with a lot of goals conceded – so the clean sheets against Alaves and Getafe were not expected. Those two sides are also relegation rivals, so Jose Luis Mendilibar’s confidence could be well-founded.
But Eibar is now coming up against a Real Betis side with its eyes on a Europa League place, that has just ended a run of six draws with a victory over Granada. The win put Manuel Pellegrini’s side up to sixth in the table, boasting just the one defeat (at the hands of bitter rivals Sevilla) since Valentine’s Day. Betis can probably afford to drop points now, so a draw would not be the end of the world here.
Real Madrid to Beat Granada
Beating Barcelona in the Camp Nou at the end of April got everyone very excited at Granada and Madrid. But two defeats in a row for Diego Martinez’s side has just about ended any realistic hopes of qualifying for Europe again. It took a late winner from Betis on Thursday to leave Granada empty-handed, but there won’t be too much disappointment at the club after the season it has had.
Real Madrid should not take this one for granted, though. There have been too many draws in recent weeks for Zinedine Zidane’s side to be too confident. Although Real will point to refereeing decisions as to why it couldn’t beat Sevilla on Sunday, that result means that Los Blancos must rely on Atletico dropping points now. If Real Madrid drops points on Thursday, it would surely mean that the champions would be relinquishing their crown.
La Liga Matchday 36 Picks
This week, there could be some surprising results as La Liga clubs battle fatigue to play three games in the space of a week. That kind of schedule can make for some upsets, and that means that might be some value bets to be found. Not all the struggling clubs will upset the odds – but not everything will go as expected.
Celta Vigo to Beat Getafe at 2.40
My first betting pick for the midweek fixtures is for Celta to overcome Getafe at home on Wednesday. This should be a fairly straightforward win for Eduardo Coudet’s side, as I don’t believe that Getafe can take a game to its opponents in the same way some other clubs at the bottom of the league might. The odds are not incredibly attractive, but this looks like a home banker to me.
Valladolid to Beat Villarreal at 4.00
Now, this pick would be more of a shock result. I’ve enjoyed Villarreal doing so well in Europe this season, but I feel that is where the players’ heads are now. The remaining league games are vitally important for Unai Emery’s side. Still, it could make the mistake of not treating a Valladolid team desperate for points as seriously as it should.
Eibar and Real Betis to Draw at 3.50
This is exactly the kind of fixture that throws up a surprise at this stage of the season. Betway has priced this as though Betis should easily win, but Eibar has won back-to-back games with no goals conceded and have a fighting spirit that is needed when facing regelation. The point might not be enough to keep the Basque club up, but it will make the next few weeks even more intriguing.