The prediction model finally righted itself a bit last week, getting 5/10 correct, but a few of the smaller clubs having hot streaks from an xG creation (if not finishing) perspective has given us trepidation about how the next set of predictions might unfold. The title is decided, so Real Madrid will be making decisions to prepare for Liverpool on the 28th of this month, but there are still European places to decide and of course relegation.
Giving up two points to Sevilla on the last possible second last week really sucked. It wasn’t just a letdown from a viewing perspective, but it makes climbing into a Europa League place a lot more complicated. That would have been a wonderful game to go ahead and win and set ourselves up well for the last three matches of the season. Here’s the deal, in five days we face Real Sociedad. If we win that match we will not only be level on points with them but we will also hold every possible tiebreaker against them, ensuring that if we finish the season level we get a higher spot in the table. That makes defeating Rayo crucial, and while they are always a hard place to travel to I think Emery knows that and the team will be razor sharp for this one.
Our model loves Cadiz, and has for several weeks now. Over their last four matches they’ve beaten FC Barcelona and Elche and also tied Sevilla. If they can draw points off Real Sociedad they would be doing us a huge favor. Betis, meanwhile, face Valencia, Granada, and Real Madrid in their last three matches so catching them might be prohibitively difficult at this juncture. Our model has them drawing this week.
While we try to run down the Europa League, we cannot take the Conference League place for granted. Athletic Club plays away to a desperate Granada team, and that should be a match for us to watch keenly as well.