Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Fri 25 May 2007

La Liga: Round 36 Preview

Written by Chris (B Squad)

With just three matches remaining, the title race has come down to four teams separated by a mere four points. The top four will all be playing at home this weekend, where they've felt quite comfortable and have the records to prove it.

Valencia is a side that, while only four points behind Real Madrid, will need to take the full nine points remaining in their season in order to keep the flame of their title hopes lit. They defeated Villareal 1-0 in the corresponding fixture in January. And while Valencia does sport an impressive home record, allowing only ten goals this season, Villareal have won five straight, including a win against Barcelona. Villareal will be well motivated for this match, as they are just one point out of the final UEFA Cup spot. Valencia have seen Joaquin and David Silva hit their stride in recent weeks and will hope David Villa can regain some of his early season form. Villareal, however, must rely on the inconsistent but occasionally brilliant Diego Forlan, who will need to have an impressive match if they are to take any points with them.

Prediction: Valencia to win 2-0

Sevilla, meanwhile, will be playing host to Real Zaragoza in what looks to be the most difficult match for the top four. Zaragoza is firmly entrenched in a UEFA Cup spot, and only seven points out of the fourth and final Champion's League spot. Sevilla is hardly out of the title chase, two points back, but will need some luck coupled with a few mistakes by Barca and Madrid. On average Sevilla concedes less than one goal a game at home, but Zaragoza is one of the better goal scoring teams on the road. They also took three points from Sevilla in January, winning 2-1. But Sevilla are still on course for a possible treble, and Freddy Kanoute seems to have a nose for goal in the dying moments of the match.

Prediction: Sevilla to win 2-1

Getafe will visit the Nou Camp just weeks after shocking Barcelona 4-0 and sending them crashing out of the Copa Del Rey. They will look to continue their good run of form and push toward the final UEFA Cup spot. Barcelona, on the other hand, has been wildly inconsistent, looking disinterest, unorganized, and at times outright lazy. Many, including myself, declared them to be dead and buried before last weeks 6-0 slaughter of Athletico Madrid. Getafe are not the most offensively minded side, having scored just 38 goals all season. And with Eto'o, Ronaldinho, and Messi looking as if they've awoken from their hibernation, one wonders if Getafe will be able to find the goals needed to match this newly tuned machine.

Prediction: Barcelona to win 3-1

And finally the team who now seems destined to take home the honors this season, Real Madrid, will host lowly Deportivo La Coruña. Depor has the worst goal scoring record in La Liga at just 26 goals, and only nine away from home. Considering the fine form Beckham, Guti, Robinho, and RVN have found, Depor will be lucky to leave with any shred of dignity. They have very little left for which to play and are coming off of an awful run of form. Real, in the meantime, have won five straight and look nothing short the future title holders.

Prediction: Real Madrid to win 3-0

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