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La Liga: Xavi Doesn’t Like Second Best…but He’ll Take It

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We’re heading into Round 37 of the 2023/24 La Liga campaign and there are still a couple of vital matters to settle. Real Madrid have had an immense season and they won the title at a canter; while second place has been a battle between Barcelona and the surprise package of Girona.

Coming into the last two games the Blaugrana have stolen a march on their Catalan neighbours and Xavi’s team looks set to finish second; though there may be another twist to come. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid are finishing strongly in fourth and they could surpass Girona. Then there is an almighty tussle for sixth place and a Europa spot while, at the bottom of the table, time is running out for Cadiz.

Let’s take a look at the five fixtures which could see these matters sorted this weekend.     

Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano

Barca’s grip on second place was strengthened on Thursday night as they took all three points in a 2-0 win away to relegated Almeria. They had been beaten by Girona at the start of the month but a 2-0 win over Real Sociedad and victory over Almeria has taken Xavi’s team four points clear of their fellow Catalans with just two games to play.

Fermin Lopez scored a goal in either half in Almeria, and he is becoming an important player for the Catalans, while 17-year-old wingback Hector Fort got in on the act with a superb cross for the first.

Rayo Vallecano are all but safe after battling to a 2-1 win over Granada in midweek; but they will be without Argentine midfielder Oscar Trejo who was red carded after just five minutes of the clash.    

Valencia vs Girona

There will be a strange atmosphere at the Mestalla Stadium on Sunday when Valencia host Barca’s rivals. Los Ches were chasing a Europa League spot very recently, but an alarming drop off in form has seen them pick up just one point from the last five games, a goalless draw with Vallecano. So with just pride to play for the hosts they will try to end Girona’s hopes of finishing second after they have suffered their own mini slump since beating Barcelona.

A draw away to Alaves and then a home defeat to Villarreal has given the initiative to their illustrious neighbours. And Girona could drop a further place down.     

Atletico Madrid vs Osasuna

Antoine Griezmann is ready to score goals for Atletico Madrid as they play against Osasuna in La Liga
Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring a hat-trick against Getafe

Los Rojiblancos have their top four place guaranteed and they can finish third, with just two points to make up on Girona. Atleti have just won four league games on the bounce and, in a 3-0 win away to Getafe on Wednesday Antoine Griezmann scored a hat-trick in 25 minutes to prove he is still box office stuff in the run up to Euro 2024. And while Diego Simone’s side are on a winning run, 13th placed Osasuna have picked up just two points from their last six games and have very little to play for. 

Real Betis vs Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad overtook Betis to settle into sixth place on Thursday after they beat Valencia 1-0 thanks to an early Andre Silva header. Attacking midfielder Takefuso Kubo was the provider and he will be a thorn in Real Betis’ side on Sunday. The hosts slipped up when they drew 2-2 away to lowly Las Palmas on Thursday and that allowed Sociedad to take a one-point lead in the race for sixth.

The Basque side will settle for a draw against their hosts who have won four and drawn two of the last six games, and Betis are at SBOTOP odds of 2.31 to win this six pointer, the draw is at 2.94 and Sociedad are priced at 2.78.

Cadiz vs Las Palmas

Down in the basement battle Cadiz have been fighting hard but the La Liga 2024 betting odds say their survival hopes are hanging by a thread. They need to win against Las Palmas and hope that either Almeria can beat Real Mallorca, or Granada can beat Celta Vigo, otherwise Cadiz are heading to the Segunda Division.  

Their recent La Liga 2024 results have picked up and they take on Las Palmas with back to back wins, 1-0 at home to Getafe and the same scoreline away to Sevilla. Las Palmas’ draw with Betis ended a run of five defeats for the visitors and they will be hard pressed to pick up much in Cadiz.    

The hosts are at odds of 1.78 to win this do or die game and, in a white hot atmosphere, I think they will do it. But they need another result to go their way. 

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.




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