Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 27/25
Having confirmed their 34th La Liga title with a win over Villarreal on Thursday, Real Madrid will travel to play Leganes in the final round of the 2019/20 season.
This match is absolutely crucial for Leganes and on the whole, they won’t be thankful that they’re facing the new champions in it, although it might prove a blessing in disguise. Going into the last matchday of the season, they are in 18th place, which means in the relegation zone, and only a positive result can give them any hope of a last-ditch escape. They have 35 points, one less that Celta Vigo directly above who are the only team they can possibly hope to overtake. Meanwhile, it’s all over for Espanyol and Mallorca.
For a side battling against a drop from the league, Leganes have shown quite decent league form recently, and that must be their hope here. Their last six matches saw them win three times, draw twice and lose just once. The trouble is, Celta play away to certified dropouts Espanyol and if they win, then that’s it for Leganes even if they beat Real.
Head coach Javier Aguirre will be without midfielders Ruben Perez (suspended) and Alexander Szymanowski (injured). Defender Kenneth Omeruo, midfielder Kevin Rodriguez and forward Guido Carrillo are set for late fitness tests.
The same goes for loanee Oscar Rodriguez, a midfielder who will be facing his parent club in this game if passed fit and selected.
Real’s form has been unwavering so far, ever since football returned to the Spanish stadiums after the long forced break. Zinedine Zidane’s men showed great determination to wrest the title from arch-rivals Barcelona and despite some controversial refereeing decisions going their way in the last few matches, nobody disputes the fact that their success is well-deserved.
Sitting seven points above the Catalans with the crown already on their heads, they now have only pride to play for, and a possible desire to end the campaign with another triumph. Still, it will be interesting to see how motivated the players will be, especially against a team for which this is an absolute must-win contest.
With defender Marcelo the only confirmed absentee for the last match of the league campaign, Zidane will have some decisions to make. But given the lack of competitive edge for his team at this point, he is likely to make some changes to the team that played against Villarreal on Thursday. The likes of Marco Asensio, Vinicius Junior, and even Luka Jovic, might get the nod in attack. The same goes for Fede Valverde in midfield, as well as makeshift right-back Lucas Vazquez and centre-back Eder Militao in defence.
This is certainly not a match whose winner is easy to predict. Even if Zidane decides to rotate his line-up heavily, the players who start may feel it to be a chance to prove themselves in a squad where there’s plenty of quality and competition for places. If that proves to be the case, Leganes may as well start preparing for the drop straight away.
On the other hand, it may well happen that they ‘do a Liverpool’ and enter the contest looking as if they’d been out celebrating all night. If that happens, Leganes might just take their chance and get a favourable result in the hope that Espanyol can do them a favour against Celta.
Nonetheless, the first option is the likelier one.
Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 27/25
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