It was a great week for Spanish football, with both Madrid sides progressing to the Champions League semi-finals. Meanwhile, Sevilla have an excellent chance of winning the Europa League for a third season in a row, and could even face Villarreal in the final.
Domestically, it’s been a terrible fortnight for table-toppers Barcelona. Since their Clasico defeat at the Nou Camp, the Catalonians have seen their lead cut to just three points and will now be nervously looking over their shoulders. Last weekend’s 1-0 reverse at Real Sociedad was followed by a humbling defeat to Atleti at the Calderon, ending their hopes of another treble.
Celta Vigo (8/13) v Real Betis (21/4) – Saturday 9.05pm
On Saturday night, Celta Vigo have an excellent opportunity to tighten their grip on fifth place in La Liga, as they host Betis at the Estadio Benito Villamarín. The three clubs around them have all been involved in Europa League action recently, but Celta’s players will be fully rested for this one. Nolito’s return from injury has proven vital, as the Celestes have recorded five wins, two draws and one defeat (at the Bernabeu). The Spaniard has notched 11 goals this season and he looks a good bet to score again this weekend.
Relegation was a serious worry for Betis earlier this season but they have made a slight recovery and now sit nine points ahead of the drop. Their away form is pretty horrendous though, with just one victory in 11 on their travels. They have also conceded a whopping 12 goals in their last five away from home.
Celta have won three of their last four and each of their past four victories were won ‘to nil’. Last month they managed to shut out Villarreal, and excluding games with Barca and Real Madrid, they are unbeaten in eight matches. The price for the home side to win and keep a clean sheet is very appealing here.
Celta Vigo win ‘to nil’ – 9/5 (2.8) with Coral
Atletico Madrid (1/4) v Granada (18/1) – Sunday 5.15pm
Diego Simeone’s side were easily the better team over two legs against Barcelona. Their reward for Tuesday night’s win is a meeting with Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich for a place in the Champions League final. Atletico are still in the Spanish title race too, trailing Barca by just three points – but that gap can be closed on Sunday night.
They play a couple of hours before Luis Enrique’s men, so a win over relegation-strugglers Granada will take them level on points. Granada are without a win in five games and have shipped 12 goals in their last six league games away from home. With the chance to put all the pressure onto Barcelona, expect a confident showing from Atleti, who should win by a handy margin.
*BEST BET* Atletico -1 handicap – 4/5 (1.8) with BetVictor
Anytime Goalscorer selections
Favourite: NOLITO (Celta Vigo v Real Betis ) – 7/5 (2.4)
Underdog: CHARLES (Malaga v Athletic Bilbao) – 2/1 (3.0)
By Nick Munday - @NM_sport
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