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LaLiga Matchday 38: Title race goes down to the wire between Madrid rivals
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Will Evans
Karim Benzema's goals have kept Real Madrid in the title race
Karim Benzema's goals have kept Real Madrid in the title race

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Europe’s most exciting title race is going down to the wire and only one thing is for certain — the LaLiga trophy is heading to Madrid.

City rivals Atletico and Real are vying for top spot but neither club will have it easy in their last match of the season.

Atleti travel to Valladolid knowing their opponents desperately need three points to avoid the drop, while Zinedine Zidane's men host a Villarreal side still in the hunt for Europa League football.

An electrifying finale to a sensational season looks set to be in store.

Friday's match

Levante vs Cadiz (8pm)

Real Valladolid vs Atletico Madrid (Saturday, 5pm)

Atletico Madrid go into the final day knowing a win against Valladolid will ensure they become champions of Spain for the first time since 2013-14.

But things become less clear-cut if Diego Simeone’s men fail to secure victory — a draw coupled with a Real win would see Los Blancos finish on top, thanks to their superior head-to-head record.

Los Rojiblancos should fancy their chances of avoiding that scenario against a team who have not won in 11 attempts and are two points from safety in 19th place.

Real Madrid supporters will cling to the fact no team has drawn more matches than the Blanquivioletas this season (16).

Another one-point return would be music to the ears of Madridistas everywhere.

No team in LaLiga have conceded less goals or kept more clean sheets than Atletico Madrid
No team in LaLiga have conceded less goals or kept more clean sheets than Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid vs Villarreal (Saturday, 5pm)

Los Blancos know it is win or bust, regardless of what happens at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla.

Zidane’s troops have only lost once in 27 league games and are in the midst of a 17-match unbeaten run — but they come up against a Villarreal team needing a win to leapfrog either Real Sociedad or Real Betis into the top six.

Even that may not be enough for the Yellow Submarine if those two clubs also pick up three points, though victory in next week’s Europa League final against Manchester United would ensure Champions League football regardless.

Villarreal will not want to rely on that eventuality — they will be gunning for a win in Madrid, even if the players will perhaps have one eye on Wednesday’s showpiece in Gdansk.

Elche vs Athletic Club (Saturday, 5pm)

The battle at the bottom is set to be just as captivating as Spain’s title race, with three teams still mathematically in with a chance of survival.

Elche sit one place inside the relegation zone thanks to their inferior head-to-head record against 17th-place Huesca, so will need to pick up maximum points against Athletic.

The hosts’ porous defence has plagued them all season and they have LaLiga’s worst expected goals against (xGA) record of 57. But they do come into this game on the back of a morale-boosting 3-1 win against Cadiz last week.

In contrast, Athletic have little left to play for and have picked up just one win in five matches, losing their last two — Elche will be hoping their poor form continues on Saturday.

Huesca vs Valencia (Saturday, 5pm)

Huesca are in the driving seat when it comes to avoiding the drop and appear to have the easiest fixture on paper.

The Azulgranas have home advantage and face a Valencia team who will be keen to put a disappointing mid-table campaign behind them.

But they will be wary of the visitors’ recent record against their relegation rivals — Voro’s team have beaten Valladolid 3-0 and Eibar 4-1 in the last month.

Another victory for Los Che would certainly set the cat among the pigeons at the bottom and blow the race for safety wide open.

Eibar vs Barcelona (Saturday, 5pm)

Lionel Messi will be looking to add to his 30 LaLiga goals this season against Eibar
Lionel Messi will be looking to add to his 30 LaLiga goals this season against Eibar

Barcelona may technically have nothing to play for but they will want to avoid finishing outside of Spain’s top three for the first time in 18 years.

That can only happen if the Blaugrana lose and Sevilla beat Alaves — a combination of results that feels unlikely when Barca are facing LaLiga’s worst side in Eibar.

But Ronald Koeman’s outfit have now dropped points in four of their last five games, losing to Granada and Celta Vigo.

With Eibar looking to end their seven-year LaLiga stay with a bang, what better way to mark their final match in LaLiga than by beating the Catalan giants?

Saturday's other games

Celta Vigo vs Real Betis (5pm)
Osasuna vs Real Sociedad (5pm)

Sunday’s games

Granada vs Getafe (5.30pm)
Sevilla vs Alaves (8pm)


Real ValladolidAtletico MadridReal MadridVillarrealElcheAthletic BilbaoSD HuescaValenciaEibarBarcelonaLaLiga
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