And it’s all come down to this – one weekend to go and it’s Atletico Madrid or their neighbours and bitter rivals Real who will be crowned Spanish champions.
Atletico hold the aces with a two-point edge as they head for Real Valladolid. But defeat, or even a draw, opens the door for Real, who are at home to Villarreal.
But the drama isn’t just confined to the top of the table. There’s also the ultimate scrap for survival at the bottom where four teams are striving to avoid three relegation spots. Only one of Eibar, Valladolid, Elche and Huesca will get lucky – but which one?
Leaders To Be Tested By Struggling Valladolid
So the destiny of the 2020-21 title is still in Atletico’s hands – but only just. And events against Osasuna last week should dispel any notion that Diego Simeone’s are shoo-ins at Valladolid.
Composure went out of the window for periods against Osasuna, who they trailed 1-0 until the last ten minutes. Luis Suarez will rarely score a more important goal than his 88th minute winner. And that was against an Osasuna who had nothing to play for – Valladolid’s top-flight future is on the line here, which is enough to make you wonder whether lumping on the league leaders at
4/13 is such a good call.
Let’s not forget, Atleti might be top of the league but they have won just one of their last seven away matches in all competitions and failed to score in four of those.
Against that, Valladolid have won only once in four months. Arriving in May, Sergio’s boys were at least proving tough to beat but in their last three outings they have been beaten by three, two and three goals respectively.
They have to stay competitive here and given that Atletico’s last three wins have been by nervy one-goal margins, the hosts +1.25 on the Asian handicap at
29/25 is worth considering.
Villarreal’s Date With The Devils A Bonus For Real
Real Madrid need to win and hope Atletico don’t (if they finish level on 84 points, Real take the title on head-to-heads) and you’d think they’d be disappointed to be having to shackle a team as classy as Villarreal.
But this is a Villarreal, of course, who just four days later are going to be taking on Manchester United in the Europa League final in Gdansk. Are they really going to be busting a gut in the Bernabeu?
And will Unai Emery, a man who has turned the Europa League into a signature competition, risk starting the likes of 23-goal top scorer Gerard Moreno and Carlos Bacca, scorer of a famous hat-trick in their weekend 4-0 demolition of Sevilla?
There has not been more than a goal between these two clubs in their last nine meetings – only three of which Real have won. The
4/9 about Real is short enough – the
47/20 they win by one goal more attractive.
Four Into Three Won’t Go As Eibar Fear Worst
All four relegation places are up for grabs though Eibar have to fear the worst, sitting bottom and with Barcelona to come in their finale.
Valladolid, as we know, need to beat Atletico to have even a chance of saving their bacon which probably means Huesca and Elche, locked together on 33 points, are scrabbling to avoid the final drop spot.
Both are priced up on a need-to-win basis – Huesca are
5/7 to beat Valencia, Elche
11/10 to beat Athletic – having done nothing all season long to suggest they should be anywhere close to odds-on pokes. I’d be sorely tempted by the
15/4 Valencia and/or the
5/2 Athletic, confident that at least one of those two fallen giants will come in.
*All odds correct at time of writing