Savage gives us his thoughts on the pick of the matches in Spain’s Primera División as Barcelona look to bounce back from a midweek demolition
Real Madrid v Villarreal
Sat 08 Apr 20:00
The late Franck Kessie goal that all but handed the league title to Barcelona three weeks ago clearly lit a fire under this Madrid side. In the two matches since the international break they have scored 10, conceded none, and Benzema has bagged two hat tricks along the way. The revenge was swift and unyielding in midweek as they tore through Barcelona with ruthless efficiency and sent them and their 1-0 first-leg lead out of the Copa.
Villarreal have managed just one victory at the Bernabeu in 22 league meetings (W1 D6 L15) so history is definitely not on their side. However, El Submarino Amarillo can be tricky opponents at the best of times and are never a push over. Against the sides in the top 5 this season the visitors have a fairly decent record (W3 D1 L4) which includes a home victory in January against their next opponents.
Rayo Vallecano v Atlético Madrid
Sun 09 Apr 20:00
Vallecano are currently sitting pretty in 8th and appear to have a comfortable gap to the relegation madness unfolding in the bottom half of the table. However, their recent form does not make for good reading. No wins in their last 7 (W0 D5 L2) is a worrying trend but at least they are salvaging some points along the way to ease the blow. The home side’s fixtures have tended to be tight affairs. Only 7 of the matches to date have been decided by more than 1 goal. With the arrival of their local rivals Atleti that is unlikely to change too drastically. That being said Madrid are the form team in the league and are unbeaten in 11 (W8 D3 L0). A late Angel Correa goal was enough to see them past Betis last time out and there could be plenty more hard graft required in this one.
Barcelona v Girona
Sun 02 Apr 20:00
Since Xavi took over as manager, Barcelona have been involved in 8 cup competitions and have won just one so far. It is not the decline in silverware but the manner of their exit from those competitions that should be most concerning to the Barca faithful. However, their league form is such that they should be able to enjoy their lengthy victory lap without too much looking over their shoulder.
Their visitors should make for fairly easy pickings. Girona sit just one point away from the top half and are generally outperforming some much more familiar top tier teams. Three wins in the their last 6 shows that they are fighting hard to maintain their Primera status for another year. A single Pedri goal was all that separated these two Catalan foes in January and it may be just as close this time around.
Real Madrid v Villarreal – Real Madrid and Over 2.5 @ 11/10
Rayo Vallecano v Atlético Madrid – Atlético and Under 2.5 @ 13/5
Barcelona v Girona – Barcelona and Under 2.5 @ 13/5
Treble @ 26/1