REMEMBER Terry Gibson? Well, we've signed him and while he won't be kicking a football he'll be looking into his crystal ball and bringing us his best Spanish tips every week.
The ex-Spurs, Coventry and Manchester United striker is probably best remembered for his time as part of the infamous Wimbledon Crazy Gang side of the late 80s and early 90s. Now an expert in all things La Liga he works as a pundit and co-commentator on Sky Sports’ Spanish football coverage and is a contributor to unibet.
Here he previews two Sunday matches.
Alaves v Atletico Madrid (Sun 3.15pm)
The title challenge is over now for Atletico Madrid as they can only get to a possible haul of 84 points. Barcelona already have 83 and with the head-to-head advantage that means that Barcelona only need one more point to deny Atletico.
Coming between the two Arsenal games, it means that Simeone will be looking to rotate his team. However, he doesn’t have the luxury in terms of numbers to rotate fully. Atletico have a squad which consists of 19 senior players, so some of the regulars will have to play in this game.
Alavés are decent opponents and have turned their season around after the appointment of Abelardo. He was the third manager of their season! They were in real trouble but with him at the helm they are now in 13th position with 41 points and are now officially safe.
After 13 games and having had two managers, Alavés had accumulated just two wins and six points. He has taken charge of 21 games, winning 11 of them and drawing two. It has been an astonishing turnaround.
I’m going to go for a draw in this game which will be a blow for Atletico in terms of them finishing in second place and above Real. They are currently on 72 points which is 4 higher than Real, who have a game in hand.
A draw at home to Betis last weekend and the away defeat at Real Sociedad has certainly made life more complicated in terms of finishing above their city rivals and I’m pretty sure now the attention and focus has turned toward winning the Europa League. I’m going for a draw in this game with the scoreline of 1-1. I’m predicting Alavés to open the scoring with Munir but with Atletico fighting back to get a share of the spoils.
- Alaves 1, Atletico 1 (5-1, Unibet)
- Munir to score first (7-1, Unibet)
- Both teams to score (23-20, Unibet)
Deportivo v Barcelona (Sun 7.45pm)
This is an interesting game indeed. Depor go into it already relegated and Barcelona could start as champions.
Levante's win against Sevilla on Friday means Depor cannot overhaul Levante on points and would need to turn around at least an 18-goal deficit in terms of goal difference and winning the last three games against Celta Vigo away, Villarreal at home and Valencia away, with Levante not picking up another point. That’s not going to happen.
If Atletico drop points prior to this game it means Barcelona will kick off confirmed as champions. Barcelona just need one more point to wrap it all up with five to play. Any takers on them not doing so?
I believe that is the very least they will take in this game and I’m actually backing them to get all three points. However, it’s not a gimme by any means despite the fact that Depor are doomed.
Depor are now unbeaten in the last four with two wins and two draws. Finally, they have found some form but I’m afraid it is far too late. Clarence Seedorf didn’t have an immediate impact as Depor’s third manager of the season and it’s taken far too long for this squad to react to the obvious danger they were in.
I fully understand why Malaga and Las Palmas have been relegated. Poor pre-season preparation in terms of recruitment meant they were always going to be in trouble due to lack of quality.
Deportivo on the other hand have a far better squad in terms of quality but they have underachieved and it’s been a torrid season. Are they good enough though to raise their game and get something against unbeaten Barcelona?
No is the easy answer, but I don’t think it will be as easy as you might imagine for Valverde’s team. Unless they play like they did last week against Sevilla. I’m contradicting myself all over the place with this one due to the circumstances in which the game will be played, so I’m going to simplify it by imagining it as a normal La Liga fixture and go with a 3-0 Barcelona away win.
I’m actually not going for Lionel Messi to get the opening goal, although he will probably get one of the three. I’m going to go for Luis Suarez to get the first as he looked particularly sharp last week in the Cup Final. So it’s the Barcelona win and another title for them which will make it the seventh in the last 10. Pretty impressive indeed.
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