Friday, May 24, 2024

Prediction: Almeria vs Barcelona

Stefan Budur in Free Soccer Predictions, La Liga 14 May 2024

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Verdict: Barcelona (-1.5) AH

 Best odds: 2.00

Bookmaker: ZetBet

Looking to save their honour after a disappointing season in which the Blaugrana side lost their La Liga champions crown to Real Madrid, Barcelona aim for a win at Almeria that would cement the runners-up position. The game will be played at Power Horse Stadium where the already relegated local team faces another uphill battle.

Almeria

Almeria’s return to the biggest stage of Spanish football was not long-lasting as the hosts are heading back to Segunda Division. Despite promoting in great style in 2022, the Saudi-owned club struggled to adapt to La Liga requirements by narrowly escaping relegation last term with a season finale draw result (3-3) at Espanyol.

Although the mood was high in Almeria’s camp over the summer, the hosts failed to record a single win in the first 29 rounds, a disastrous spell that saw the team relegated long before the season’s end. However, appointing Pepe Mel at the helm, following the dismissal of Gaizka Garitano, had an instant impact as the Rojiblnacos secured the first win of this campaign in mid-March at Las Palmas.

Still, Almeria disappointed their fans by failing to record a single win at Power Horse Stadium following dreadful displays that led to 8 draws and 9 defeats. Still, despite suffering a mental crash, Pepe Mel managed to motivate his players who performed at a higher level by producing a surprise win at fellow relegation strugglers Rayo Vallecano (0-1).

With former champions Barcelona in great shape, Almeria must be at its best to avoid another disaster in front of their fans. Almeria will end its La Liga journey by seeking redemption towards their fans with an away game at Mallorca followed by a home conclusion with Cadiz.

Team News

Pepe Mel can line up a competitive squad to face Barcelona without any injury concerns. However, centre forward Leo Baptistao is facing a red card suspension and will miss the opportunity to test his abilities against the Blaugrana’s defenders. Also, left winger Largie Ramazani will join him in the stands serving a yellow card suspension.

Barcelona

Barcelona failed to replicate their previous season’s title-win performance with results below expectations across all competitions. Ending their journey prematurely in the Copa del Rey leaves Blaugrana with no domestic silverware. Furthermore, Xavi Hernandez’s players suffered a major heartbreak in Europe after being knocked out by PSG in a controversial second-leg quarter-final match that saw the Spanish boss sent off.

The struggles continued in La Liga with Barca now aiming to salvage their honour by clinching the runners up position. However, with 3 rounds left and Girona having their best season ever, Barcelona needs to remain focused to avoid a shameful 3rd place finish.

Despite suffering a second-half meltdown at Girona that culminated with a 4-2 defeat, Barcelona bounced back Monday night by defeating Real Sociedad at home, positioning themselves great to end the campaign in 2nd place. Losing at Bernabeu to bitter rivals Real Madrid and away at Girona made it two away defeats in a row, the lowest point for Xavi Hernadez’s team thus far.

Although the Spanish boss’s announcement to remain at the club was taught to impact positively the squad, the onfield results say otherwise. Besides the perpetuated defensive issues during this campaign, the misfiring Robert Lewandowski topped Barca’s struggles this term.

Following the trip to Almeria, Barcelona will host Rayo Vallecano and end their campaign with a home game against Sevilla. A win in all these fixtures is a must considering the narrow advantage (1 point) Barca has over the in-form Girona.

Team News

Frenke de Jong, Alejandro Balde, and Gavi are out for the rest of the season. Additionally, because Ilkay Gundogan has a yellow card ban, Xavi Hernandez can’t employ him. It’s predicted that Lamine Yamal will steal the show, just as he did against Sociedad when he opened the score.

Key factors to consider

  • Although Almeria is relegated, the hosts fight to avoid dropping from the last position in the league
  • The hosts aim to replicate the previous season’s Power Horse Stadium performance when they shocked Barcelona with a 1-0 win
  • The visitors have had a disappointing season with no prospects of winning silverware by the end of this term
  • Barca leads the La Liga runners-up contest having a single-point lead over Girona

Conclusion

Barcelona is searching for a win at Ameria that could increase its chances of finishing as La Liga runners-up. Despite the hosts’ improvements since Pepe Mel’s appointment, the Blaugrana side has enough quality to get a comfortable win at Power Horse Stadium.

Verdict: Barcelona (-1.5) AH

 Best odds: 2.00

Bookmaker: ZetBet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stefan Budur


Former owner of Betting Mojo, experienced bettor and former punter at Betadvisor, Stefan has done it all when it comes to soccer betting. With more than 15 years of experience in the gambling industry, he gained a lot of knowledge that he'd like to share with SoccerNews.com readers so you can position yourself better every time you place a bet.

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