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15.05.2010 10:34

Spanish League Preview –The Final Week

Nick Bedson

It’s the final weekend of action in La Liga and apart from the duel between Barca and Real Madrid, the final Champions League spot, Europa Cup places and the little matter of which three teams go down will be decided.

Barca and Madrid both kick off at seven o’clock on Sunday, by which time the European places will have been settled, but with Malaga and Valladolid taking on the mantle of the big two’s latest victims, the relegation battle will also go down to the very last minute of the league programme.

“It’s virtually impossible”

Although they do still have a chance of lifting the league trophy, the Real Madrid players seem resigned to coming second, with Sergio Ramos admitting: ”it’s virtually impossible” whilst Arbeola claimed: “Barca have everything in their favour – but, we’ll do what we have to”. Pellegrini should have a full squad and it could be a last game in Madrid colours for captain Raul and veteran midfielder Guti- and who knows, maybe for the boss too.

Seville out for Cup Final boost

Seville travel to Almeria on Saturday night, a point ahead of Mallorca who face Espanyol in the ONO Stadium at the same time. With Mallorca’s fantastic home record this season, the emphasis has to be on Seville to get a win in order to guarantee another Champions League season and also give them a boost ahead of the final of the Spanish Cup against Atletico Madrid at the Nou Camp next Wednesday. Should Seville slip up, they will be joined in the Europa Cup by either Getafe or Villarreal. Michel’s team are ahead on goal average and travel to neighbours Atletico Madrid, no doubt focussing on Wednesday’s Cup Final and still feeling the effects of last Wednesday’s two-hour Europa Cup Final against Fulham. Villarreal travel to Zaragoza and have to hope Getafe slip up.

Three out of five to go down

With four teams on 36 points and only separated by head-to-head goal difference, Valladolid could still stay up even if they lose to Barca, but Malaga, currently third from bottom, must get a result against Madrid, whilst Racing – with just one win in their last ten games –are sandwiched between Malaga and Valladolid ahead of their home game with Sporting Gijon and could also stay up even if they do lose. Tenerife are the lowest team on 36 and they face a trip to Valencia, knowing that they have to take something from the team in third spot if they are to stand a chance of playing in the top flight next season. Finally, Xerez travel to Pamplona to play Osasuna with a win the only result that could give them a chance of pulling off an astonishing escape. At times like this in Spanish football here have always been rumours of “maletins” - briefcases stuffed with money used to convince third parties to help out, but the Osasuna players have spent all week insisting they will be going for a win: “out of respect for the game” and “because we are professionals” – Valladolid, Malaga, Tenerife and Racing will be hoping that’s true!
Spanish League Preview –The Final Week

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