Best Odds: 8/11
The stage is set for Barcelona to celebrate their 25th La Liga crown this weekend as the Catalans face Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday aiming to claim a domestic double in just a week’s time.
Deportivo La Coruna
With both Las Palmas and Malaga already relegated from the Spanish top flight, Deportivo La Coruna have launched a late bid to avoid such a faith. Heading into the 35th match of the season off the back of a four-match unbeaten run, Clarence Seedorf’s team is facing a dangerous prospect.
The legendary Dutchman is likely to fall short in his efforts to save Deportivo La Coruna from a drop, knowing that his team sits nine points adrift of safety. For Depor to remain in the frame for La Liga stay, they will need to do the impossible – beat Barcelona – and hope that Levante will lose to Sevilla. Despite their own worries and preoccupations, Deportivo La Coruna will form a guard of honour in tribute of Barcelona’s Copa del Rey win. Such a decision shows true class from a team facing almost certain relegation despite the results that just came too late. Deportivo La Coruna have yet to lose any of their last five home matches and will be hoping a replay of the last season’s match at Riazor is possible. Depor beat Barcelona 2-1 on 12 March 2017, which was their first home win over the Catalans after a string of five consecutive defeats.
Sulley Muntari returned to training this week but the Barcelona game is likely to be arriving too soon for him.
The hosts will be hoping Eneko Boveda, Pedro Mosquera and Lucas will be able to reach full fitness in time for the match, whereas Adrian Lopes is likely to sit it out due to a foot contusion.
A point is all Barcelona need in order to clinch their 25th La Liga title. The Catalans could be crowned champions even before the match at Riazor under condition that both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid fail to win against Leganes and Alaves, respectively.
Ernesto Valverde’s men have thoroughly deserved their domestic crown this season. Topping the table from week two, it’s been clear that Barcelona would be leading the way until the end after the compelling 3-0 El Clasico win back in December 2017, which saw them open a 14-point gap ahead of their fierce rivals. A slight dip in form gave Atletico Madrid a glimmer of hope, however, as Barcelona failed to beat Getafe and Espanyol back in March but Leo Messi-inspired side got back to winning ways and preserved the lead at the summit which currently stands at huge 11 points ahead of the second-placed Atletico. The Catalans will be particularly keep to clinch the title this Sunday, just a week after their comprehensive 5-0 win over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final. Completing a league double is just a week’s time would be a good way to heal the wounds from the shock Champions League elimination at the hands of AS Roma.
Barcelona B star Carles Alena took part in the first-team training this week, whereas Paulinho was given a leave of absence from Thursday’s session.
Ernesto Valverde is likely to have all of his first-team stars at disposal with the exception of Sergi Roberto who is suspended for the occasion.
Key Factors to Consider
- Barcelona only need a point to clinch the La Liga title
- Deportivo La Coruna are unbeaten in last four matches and five at home
- The hosts are nine points adrift of safety
- Barca could become champions before the match if both Atletico and Real fail to win their matches
- The Catalans won five of their last six trips to Riazor
There is not a doubt in our mind that Deportivo La Coruna would do their absolute best to delay Barcelona’s party but Ernesto Valverde’s men will be equally keen to build on the Copa del Rey success and claim a domestic double in just a week’s time. Though they need a point only, we can see them claiming all three.
Best Odds: 8/11
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