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 Saturday matches.
Celta Vigo v Levante (Sat 12pm)
It’s no wins in the last six games for Celta Vigo and they were on the end of a 6-0 thrashing at Real Madrid last week. That has led to the demise of current coach Juan Carlos Unzue who has been notified that he will not be continuing in his position next season.
He is, however, still in place for this the final game of the season and I’m banking on a negative response from him and his team this week. That has been the case since the decision was made a few weeks ago.
I’m coupling the negative with the positive in this game and it is a big positive as far as Levante are concerned. Fresh from being the first and only team to beat Barcelona this season I expect Levante to finish the season off in style.
The turnaround in their form since Paco Lopez is incredible. I don’t think I have seen anything remotely like this in all of the years I have been watching or playing football. After 27 games under coach Juan Muniz they had 21 points and were firmly entrenched in a relegation battle. Since Paco took over they have played 10, won 8 of them, drawn against Girona and lost only one game which was away to Atletico Madrid.
He has gained 25 points from a possible 30 which is 4 more points than they accumulated in the 27 games prior to his appointment. If they were to win here in this game it is feasible that they could even get into the top half of the table and as things stand they are now 17 points clear of the bottom three.
It was still a surprise though that they were able to be victorious against Barcelona, although I expected them to be competitive, the big surprise was the fact that they were able to score five goals against the champions. What an incredible scoreline it was when they were 5-1 up!
I’m backing the supremely confident Levante to continue winning ways against a demoralised Celta Vigo in this game. I’m going for the away win with a scoreline of 2-3. I think Celta have goalscoring potential in Aspas and Maxi Gomez but I’m going for Levante to just shade it in an open and expansive game and I’m going for Jose Luis Morales to get the opening goal for Levante.
- Celta 2, Levante 3 (20-1, Unibet)
- Morales to score first (23-2, Unibet)
- Both teams to score (2-5, Unibet)
Villarreal v Real Madrid (Sat 7.45pm)
Villarreal have nailed down a Europa League position for next season and now aim to finish above Real Betis in fifth place. Real though have to use this game as preparation for next Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool.
Ronaldo and Carvajal are expected to return from injury in this game and maybe we will get an insight to Zidane’s thinking and team selection for the game next week. Everybody is fit now for Real and I’m sure that has given Zidane plenty to ponder.
Will Gareth Bale play in this one and get a starting spot for the final? He has been in great form of late and Isco also returned last week and capped off a fine performance with a stunning goal.
Gareth Bale’s second goal alone last week showed exactly why I believe he should start versus Liverpool.
There’s no selection issues regarding the goalkeeper and back four against Liverpool, while Kroos and Modric will definitely also play. Ronaldo is a cert up front but that leaves three places up for grabs between Kovacic, Casemiro, Isco, Asensio, Bale, Vazquez and Benzema!
It’s a nice problem to have for any coach. My personal choice would be Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos, Isco; Bale, Ronaldo, Asensio. But perhaps it’s best I’m not manager of Madrid!
I’m fully expecting the starting line-up for the final to start in this match and therefore I’m going for the away win in this game with a scoreline of 2-0 with Ronaldo straight back into the groove with the opening goal.
- Villarreal 0, Real Madrid 2 (15-1, Unibet)
- Ronaldo to score first (18-5, Unibet)
- Real Madrid win (11-10, Unibet)
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