In the last round of La Liga games, Real Madrid hosts Athletic Bilbao and can guarantee they finish in second place with all three points. Bilbao must win if they are to qualify for the Europa Conference League, but they are in bad shape heading to the Bernabeu and haven’t defeated Real in La Liga since 2015, despite having won a few cup games since then.
The game on Sunday is against Celta, who are fighting for their league survival at the bottom of the standings. Here is the team that Xavi might send out to close out the 2022–2023 campaign, with a few difficult departures imminent.
Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao
The Spanish giants “only” won the Cup this year, which by their standards is inadequate. With 77 points, they are second in La Liga, 11 points behind first-place Barcelona. Real Madrid will undoubtedly want to finish ahead of Atletico Madrid, their local rival who is only one point behind them, even though finishing second or third in La Liga is essentially the same.
Athletic Bilbao developed to become a group that frequently skips Europe. They last won Europe in the 2016–17 campaign, when they finished seventh. Since they are now in eighth place with 50 points, they are very close to securing Europe this season. Athletic Bilbao, one of the five teams with 49 or 50 points, is in the weakest shape of those teams and will face the toughest opponent.
The hosts have struggled to keep clean sheets, going four games without one. A 2-1 victory for the hosts makes sense in the correct score market because Real’s last two victories have come by that margin and they haven’t scored more than twice in any of their last eight games. Bilbao has only failed to score in one of their last six away games.
Athletic has its own reasons to desire to do well in the season’s last weekend, as the Basque club is in contention to finish seventh, which would qualify it for the 2023–24 Europa Conference League knockout phase.
It’s a little unexpected that the Lions are in this situation considering that they have only won one game in their last seven league contests while losing five of those contests. In spite of recent defeats to Osasuna and Elche, Ernesto Valverde’s team enters this game in eighth place in the table, level on points with Osasuna, who have a better head-to-head record than the Basque team.
With 13 victories in 18 La Liga games at home this season, Real Madrid has been very effective. In the last seven home games, they have been completely dominant, winning six and drawing just once. The only tie over that time period came against Manchester City, perhaps the best team in the world.
Athletic Bilbao is currently playing poorly. In addition to losing five of their last seven games, they also failed to score in four of those contests. Athletic Bilbao had a 1:7 goal differential in their previous two road defeats to opponents who were significantly worse than Real Madrid (Osasuna and Villarreal).
Six recent head-to-head matches were won by Real Madrid. Karim Benzema’s future has been the subject of considerable discussion over the past week or two, but it appears like he will remain with Real for at least one more season. The Frenchman is set to play in the season finale despite missing the team’s victory against Sevilla last time out. If he does, he can score after scoring 18 goals in just 23 La Liga games this season.
Tip: Real Madrid to win / Benzema to score
Real Madrid to win – ❌
Benzema to Score – ✅
Bet Here > Bet9ja
Celta Vigo vs Barcelona
With Lionel Messi’s uncertain return to Catalonia dominating the news, La Blaugrana has secured the league title with plenty of time to spare and is now preparing for what will undoubtedly be a busy summer at Camp Nou.
The Catalans are already champions and have been operating in “cruise control” for some time. But they would undoubtedly like to finish this championship-winning season with a strong showing.
However, Celta Vigo, who are listed 17th out of 20 teams, are just barely clinging on to avoid relegation. In order to possibly avoid being eliminated, they must treat this game like a championship.
Top of the standings and champions already are Xavi’s team. They have also had excellent results in their previous meetings with this opponent, even at this location. They can choose to play without being under any time constraints, which further pushes the odds in their favor.
On the other hand, Celta Vigo, who are battling relegation, are ranked 17th out of 20 teams. They have a long streak of losing games and are conceding a ton of goals.
Barca recently lost to struggling clubs, and last month they lost to Celta’s relegation rivals Valladolid. As a result, the best main bet appears to be betting both teams to score rather than a specific outcome.
In each of Barcelona’s last three away games and three of their last four overall games, both teams have scored. Celta has lost six games in a row without keeping a clean sheet, but they often score well at home, scoring in six of their last seven games.
Los Celestes may be the club in need of a win, but they have dropped five of their past six games despite being in severe need of points for some time. The fact that the hosts must try to win could very well work to Barca’s advantage.
To ensure their survival, Celta must win, although it is quite tough for us to back the home team with any genuine assurance. Barcelona is not under any pressure, but the Catalan team has so much talent on the pitch that we anticipate the winners to finish the season on a winning note.
Tip: Barcelona to win / BTTS (YES)
Barcelona to win – ❌
BTTS – ✅
Below are our top betting fixtures for Sunday;
- Juventus v Udinese Bet9ja, Paripesa, 1xBet ✅
- Milan v Verona Bet9ja, Paripesa, 1xBet ✅
- Twente v Heerenveen ✅
- Al Ahly v WAC Bet9ja, Paripesa, 1xBet ✅
- Gremio v Sao Paulo ✅
- Real Valladolid v Getafe Bet9ja, Paripesa, 1xBet ❌
- Galatasaray v Fenerbahce ❌
- Genk v Royal Antwerp✅
Over 2.5 Goals
- Celta v Barcelona Bet9ja, Paripesa, 1xBet ✅
- Napoli v Sampdoria Bet9ja, Paripesa, 1xBet ❌
- Santos v Internacional ❌
- Galatasaray v Fenerbahce ✅
- Genk v Royal Antwerp ✅
See FREE BETS HERE
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.