La Liga concludes this weekend. Barcelona have long since clinched the title while we already know 2nd place will go to Atletico Madrid with Real Madrid in 3rd for the second season running. What we don’t know is who will be joining them in next season’s Champions League with Valencia, Getafe and Sevilla still in with a shout of finishing 4th heading into the final day.
All three sides play at 15:15 on Saturday and that will be the main focus this weekend although there are a number of other games with something riding on them. The Europa League positions will also be decided on Saturday afternoon while in the evening Girona need a miracle if they are to beat the drop.
The Battle for Champions League Football
4th – Valencia (58 Points) – 1/3 to Finish 4th
Valencia are now in pole position to reach the Champions League and ensure La Liga’s top four finishes up in exactly the same order it did last season. They couldn’t live with Arsenal in the Europa League Semi-Finals but Los Che have been the most impressive side outside of the big three in Spain over the second half of the season and they took a big step in the direction of qualifying for the Champions League again by beating Alaves last time out.
They’d also have been delighted to see their final day opponents Real Valladolid secure their safety last time out. Their trip to the Jose Zorrilla now looks considerably less difficult with Valladolid now more likely to be in celebratory mood at their survival rather than scrapping for every ball which would have been the case had they failed to win last weekend.
Valencia are the firm favourites to beat Real Valladolid which would guarantee them 4th place. Anything less though and they’d be left sweating on results from elsewhere. Marcelino’s men still have a Copa del Rey Final to look forward to next weekend too but having budgeted for Champions League qualification this is every bit as significant as that match.
5th – Getafe (58 Points) – 11/4 to Finish 4th
Nobody expected Getafe to be in the running for Champions League football this term. The South Madrid club are only in their second season back at this level but they’ve been outstanding with La Liga’s second best defensive record while Jaime Mata has formed a fine partnership with veteran Jorge Molina up top.
There might actually be a tinge of disappointment if they don’t go on and get 4th now having been in pole position for much of the last few months but defeat at Camp Nou saw them slip to 5th heading into their final day game at home to Villarreal. They will fancy they can get the job done there but they will still need a big favour from Valladolid.
They are level on points with Valencia with one game to play but have the inferior head-to-head record which settles matters in the event of a tie in the Primera Division. There is no love lost between the two clubs who contested the feistiest match of the Spanish football season in the Copa del Rey which descended into a brawl after Valencia scored twice in Stoppage Time to progress against a Geta side that was reduced to 9 men. Therefore it will be extra sweet for whoever ends up on top come Saturday evening.
6th – Sevilla (56 Points) – 66/1 to Finish 4th
Sevilla are hoping to spoil the party but the odds are firmly stacked against them. They are paying the price for an inexplicable 3-0 home defeat to bottom half Leganes a fortnight back and head into the final weekend not only two points behind Getafe and Valencia but also with an inferior head-to-head record against both.
As a result Sevilla will only finish 4th if they win their game against Athletic on Saturday and both Getafe and Valencia lose. That looks highly unlikely not least because Sevilla have perhaps the toughest game with their opponents also in need of the points as they chase Europa League football.
What else is at stake on the Final Weekend?
Athletic, Sociedad & Espanyol target Europa League Qualification
With both Copa del Rey Finalists guaranteed to qualify for Europe via the league, 7th will be good enough for a place in the Europa League. Athletic Bilbao currently hold that position and will be in Europe if they can get a point at Sevilla. If they fail to do that then the winner of the clash between Real Sociedad and Espanyol will be Spain’s final European participants next season.
Girona chase a Miraculous Escape
Rayo Vallecano and Huesca have already been relegated from La Liga. Girona are as short as 1/1000 with Betfair to be joining them in the Segunda Division next season after they suffered a damaging home defeat to relegation rivals Levante last weekend.
That result ensured the safety of all the strugglers besides Celta Vigo who still in theory need a point from their home game with Rayo to guarantee survival. The only way Girona can stay up is if they win at Alaves, Celta lose and a seven goal swing takes place in the Catalan side’s favour to overturn their inferior goal difference given the two clubs are level on head-to-head.
While Girona stand every chance of winning their game at a woefully out of form Alaves, it looks very unlikely that either of the other two things will happen. If you do fancy something absolutely extraordinary to occur, you can back Celta Vigo to be Relegated at 200/1 with Betfair.