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 the Madrid derby and a key relegation battle.
Levante v Las Palmas (Sun 11am)
This is the other big game at the bottom this weekend and my predicted win for Levante should see them safe, leaving the other three teams all doomed for the Segunda next season.
Levante are on a very good run and the managerial change which saw Juan Muniz depart and Paco Lopez step in has worked in exactly the way that Levante hoped for.
It certainly was a tough call on Muniz. In his last two games Levante conceded in the 90th minute. It cost them a defeat against Alavés and a win at Espanyol.
In stepped Paco Lopez and the decent form has turned into very good form with two wins and a draw in his first three games. In total, it’s now four undefeated for Levante and eight points that has taken them away from the bottom three. They are now seven clear of Las Palmas and the last relegation spot.
This little spurt of form should see them safe and if they win this game it will be all over.
Las Palmas, believe it or not, had a chance against Real last week with the changes made by Zidane but they didn’t get anywhere near threatening a weaker Madrid line up.
They conceded two penalties both courtesy of reckless defending, while the other goal came from trying to play Gareth Bale offside near the halfway line.
I expect a more regular Levante to beat a team coached by Paco Jemez who hasn’t installed any belief, confidence or organisation since taking over back in early January.
It’s 13 games now under Jemez and just the two wins. The same as Paco Lopez in just three matches.
Paco Jemez stated prior to the Madrid game that his team were the worst set of players he has ever coached and that they couldn’t do anything that he asked of them. Well what about possibly asking them to do some things that might be achievable, instead of being self-indulgent and asking the players to play a style of football totally unsuited to them?
I’m going for a home win for Levante with the scoreline of 2-0 and striker Roger Martí getting the all-important first goal of the game.
- Levante 2, Las Palmas 0 (15-2, Unibet)
- Marti to score first (5-1, Unibet)
- Levante win to nil (5-1, Unibet)
Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid (Sun 3.15pm)
It was 0-0 at the Wanda back in November between these two teams and I’m leaning towards another low scoring affair in this match up.
Certainly, the stakes are not as high as we would have hoped for at this stage of the season, with both teams comfortably in a top four position but nowhere near challenging Barcelona.
Atletico will certainly be looking to finish second and above Real, of course. With a 4 point gap between the two, I’m not expecting anything other than Atletico looking to keep things particularly tight in this game.
If Atletico really put their minds towards being defensive, then we know how tough that will be for Real to break them down. Expect Griezmann to be playing almost as a left back!
Team selection for both managers will be crucial in this tie and Zidane certainly has more options to choose from in that department.
Simeone not so much. Atletico have a much smaller squad, so the choices are not there for Simeone and Atletico might start the game with pretty much the regular line up we have come to expect. Zidane, though, will rest some of the big hitters but is still able to bring in the likes of Kovacic, Asensio, Bale and Vazquez.
The second-place finish is important for Atletico and Simeone. In the last five seasons his team have won a title and finished third on four occasions.
If they finish second and above Real, he and the club will certainly believe that they have had a good season.
A draw and clean sheet suits Simeone and Atletico down to the ground so having correctly predicted the 0-0 in the first meeting of these two this season I’m going to go for the same scoreline again. I’m kind of hoping I’m wrong though!
- Real 0, Atletico 0 (11-1, Unibet)
- First scorer (if there is one): Bale (27-5, Unibet)
- Under 1.5 goals (16-5, Unibet)
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