La Liga Preview: Real Madrid on the brink, Luis Enrique’s League swan song and Villarreal lead Europa League chase

La Liga

Granada vs Espanyol

The final round of La Liga kicks off at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes on Friday with Granada hosting Espanyol. Tony Adams is yet to win a single point from his six games in charge and will hope to gain three points to at least avoid finishing rock bottom, in what could be the former Arsenal defender’s final game in charge. A win for Espanyol would at least temporarily lift the Barcelona side to 8th place.

Sporting Gijón vs Real Betis

Despite threatening a stunning escape, Sporting Gijón were condemned to the final relegation place last week after battling to a 0-1 away win over Eibar, as Deportivo and Leganes picked up well-earned points against Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao respectively. On Saturday, the away side can extend an unbeaten run against Sporting to six games, dating back to June 2015.

Deportivo vs Las Palmas

The arrival of Pepe Mel, a home draw to Atlético Madrid and a home victory against Barcelona seems a long while ago now as miserable form since witnessed Deportivo secure their league status with a positive head-to-head record over Sporting Gijón. There has been transfer news regarding Deportivo to digest as Carles Gil, currently on loan from Aston Villa, has revealed his intentions of making the deal permanent. Also, according to ESPN, Arsenal striker Lucas Perez has opened the door to a return to the club in a move that could be the start to securing a more comfortable campaign for Deportivo next season. For Las Palmas, 19 goals conceded in their last six games suggests that they may well concede 14th place to Real Betis.

Leganes vs Alaves

After crawling over the line to safety following a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao, which succeeded a vital and impressive 4-0 hammering of Real Betis, Leganes face Alaves and Mauricio Pellegrino who sit in 9th place. Leganes may have a chance to finish strongly with the likelihood of the away team resting players for the Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona in a week’s time.

Sevilla vs Osasuna

What could have been. Despite securing a Champions League play off place by finishing 4th place, Sevilla were labelled ‘dark horses’ for the Champions League by Paul Merson at a time where Jorge Sampaoli’s side were mounting a title challenge. Sevilla are still without eight injured players including Benoît Trémoulinas, Samir Nasri and Vicente Iborra, as well as the suspended Gabriel Mercado. Oddly since relegation, Osasuna have rallied and could avoid finishing 20th when, for a while, it looked certain.

Atlético Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao

Sunday’s game is the end of one of Europe’s most famous grounds as the Vicente Calderón witnesses its final match. However, many fans may regret tearing their seat from the ground after an emotional final European fixture. Overall it has been a disappointing season for Atlético Madrid and Diego Simeone by their high standards after being dumped out of the Champions League by Real Madrid for the 4th time in as many years, as well as never really seriously challenging Real Madrid and Barcelona in the league. Sunday’s opponents are currently positioned ahead of local rivals Real Sociedad in the final European place, and may need to win to secure that place, with Sociedad travelling to Vigo.

Celta Vigo vs Real Sociedad

Following their exit from the Europa league, Celta Vigo have continued to field what is almost a ‘B’ team, as well as John Guidetti missing games after claiming that he was failing to get over the costly miss against Manchester United in the Europa League semi-final.

Real Sociedad are unbeaten in five league games and Eusebio will have a near fully fit squad for the crunch match, which will determine whether European football will be played in San Mamés next season.

Valencia vs Villarreal

Firstly some good news in a season with little excitement for Valencia fans. On May 16th, promising 20 year old Carlos Soler signed a new contract at Valencia, securing the player until 2021 with a release clause of €80m. On Sunday, the home side host Villarreal who are also looking to secure Europa League football next season. The Yellow Submarine are in control of the race with Bilbao and Sociedad, and currently sit in 5th place on 54 points. Valencia have been in mixed form recently but their home form has been solid with only one defeat in their last nine in the league – with the last coming against Real Sociedad.

Barcelona vs Eibar & Málaga vs Real Madrid

Sunday night sees the final games of the La Liga season with the title yet to be claimed by Barcelona or Real Madrid. Both games kick off at 7pm GMT with Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane needing a point away to Málaga to seal their first title since 2012, but Barcelona will be ready to pounce if Málaga spoil the party in Luis Enrique’s final league game in charge. The games are likely to be decided by both clubs’ talisman who continue to set and break ridiculous records with what feels like every game.

Lionel Messi last 10 La Liga fixtures –

Goals: 12

Cristiano Ronaldo last 10 La Liga fixtures –

Goals: 8

Real Madrid’s hosts on Sunday still continue to pick up points with four wins and one draw in their previous six fixtures, having stared relegation in the face during the season. One danger for Real Madrid will be former Barcelona striker Sandro Ramirez, who has 14 La Liga goals and will be itching to give a helping hand to his former club.