Cordoba - Barcelona - Saturday 15.00 GMT
Bottom hosts top on Saturday afternoon, bringing together two teams whose form could not be more different.
Cordoba have not won for 16 games in La Liga, a historically wretched run of form, and have not scored in any of their last outings. Another defeat on Saturday will see them mathematically sure of returning to the Segunda Division next season. But relegation has looked certain for weeks now.
Barca, by contrast, have won 25, drawn one and lost one of their last 27 matches. Luis Enrique’s team remain well set for a treble of La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. Superstar front three Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar moved to 102 goals between them during Tuesday’s 6-0 hammering of Getafe at the Camp Nou. The blaugrana camp could not be happier at the moment.
In this situation team news does not seem over important. Cordoba centre-forward Florin Andone, responsible for each of his team’s three goals scored since February, returns from suspension. Luis Enrique is likely to rotate as usual for such games, with left-back Jordi Alba back from his ban, and no new injury concerns.
Barca won 5-0 at the Camp Nou in December’s reverse fixture. A similarly easy win seems on the cards, although the visitors may perhaps ease up in the second half given Wednesday’s looming Champions League game at home to Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich.
Predicted result: Cordoba 0-3 Barcelona at 5.80
Best bet: Goal scored first 15 mins at 2.45
Atletico Madrid - Athletic Bilbao - Saturday 17.00 GMT
Atletico Madrid against Athletic Bilbao at the Estadio Vicente Calderon on Saturday evening brings together two teams whose seasons are ending on a high.
Atletico have not let Champions League disappointment upset their domestic form and with four games to play they have a strong hold on third spot, with a six point gap to next placed Valencia and Sevilla. Wednesday’s 1-0 win at Villarreal, thanks to a rare Fernando Torres goal, was Simeone’s 200th in charge. A tally over that time of 127 wins, and 100 clean sheets, is pretty incredible, and the season should really be seen as a success even if their hopes of retaining the La Liga title won last year are almost gone.
Athletic had their own European woes earlier in the year, but have rallied impressively, and are ending the campaign in good form. They’ve already qualified for the Copa del Rey final, but a rule change means they must beat Barcelona in that game to make the Europa League. Qualification through finishing seventh in La Liga also looks possible, although Tuesday’s 1-1 home draw with Basque rivals Real Sociedad was a blow to those chances.
In teams news Simeone can call on fit again midfielder Mario Suarez, while centre-back Xabi Etxeita returns from suspension for Ernesto Valverde’s side.
History favours the home side in this clash - with Atletico having won eight of their last nine meetings in all competitions, including a 4-1 win at San Mames just before Christmas. This time around things could be tighter and a draw looks quite possible.
Predicted result: Atletico Madrid 1-1 Athletic Bilbao at 8.00
Best bet: Total goals under 2.5 at 1.83
Sevilla - Real Madrid - Saturday 19.00 GMT
Real Madrid’s trip to Sevilla on Saturday evening is easily La Liga’s most attractive fixture this season, and a game which could go a long way to deciding both the title winners and top four finishers.
Madrid did not play particularly well at home to Almeria on Wednesday evening, but they still won 3-0 to stay just two points behind La Liga leaders Barca. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have been dealing with Champions League commitments, injuries and loss of form of key players. But Los Blancos have still won their last six games in La Liga, scoring 24 goals while conceding just four, and are showing resolve to push Barca all the way.
Sevilla meanwhile are in their best form in a long time - Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Eibar lifted Unai Emery’s side to fourth in the table. They have also reached the Europa League semi-finals during a run of 18 games unbeaten in all competitions. Their home form is even more spectacular, 14 months and 34 games without defeat at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan.
Both coaches will be looking to marshal their resources ahead of more European games next midweek. Ancelotti hopes to welcome back Gareth Bale from his calf injury, although Karim Benzema is still out with a knee problem. Emery used the Eibar game to rest some important players, and should have recently capped by Spain winger Vitolo and Portugal goalkeeper Beto available again.
Madrid lost this fixture 2-1 last season, with Carlos Bacca scoring twice. Barca drew 2-2 at the Sanchez Pizjuan just last month. Sevilla maintaining their unbeaten home run looks quite likely.
Predicted result: Sevilla 1-1 Real Madrid at 7.00
Best bet: Draw at 3.60