Valencia - Sporting / PHOTO: valenciacf.com

Emery under the spotlight at the Bernabeu

Both Valencia and Real Madrid sealed European semi-final spots midweek, but with Emery’s team blowing a comfortable looking third place lead, the pressure is very much on the visiting manager, whose side have won just three of their last 14 La Liga matches. Both Malaga and Levante could catch Valencia, with Pellegrini’s side facing second from bottom Racing at La Rosaleda and Levante at home to another European semi-finalist Atletico Madrid, though Levante would probably still trail Valencia on goal difference even if they did win. This looks set to be a tale of dogged Levante defending against the Falcao led Atletico’s attacking flair, but there may be questions about the visitors’ ability to bounce back from their midweek European exertions.

Bilbao need European form

Michel’s Seville are making their own late run for a European spot and are level on points with Atletico going into the game at San Mames against the current toast of Europe, Athletic Bilbao. Unfortunately, the Basques shine in Europe seems to have tarnished their league form, where they now sit in 11th, and with four defeats in their last five against Seville’s run of three straight wins, this could be a chance for Seville to put a potential rival out of the running for a top six spot. Sixth place Osasuna are a point ahead of Atletico and Seville and two behind Levante and they may yet gatecrash the Champions League party. Although they got a pasting against Real Madrid last week, they are still on a decent run, with just two defeats in their last ten games and will fancy their chances against the erratic Rayo at Vallecas, even though they will be without their suspended boss Jose Luis Mendilibar.

Sporting and Racing in desperate straights

At the bottom, it’s looking increasingly grim for Sporting and they face a tough task away to Getafe, who have won their last two home games, whilst Racing have an equally hard job on their hands at Malaga on Monday night. Villarreal, nervously looking over their shoulder at Zaragoza’s recovery, are away to Betis and Granada will look to Siqueira to maintain his recent impressive scoring run(four in the last four games) when they travel to Mallorca.

In the weekend’s other game, Espanyol, currently 9th in the table, but winless in their last three games, are at home to Real Sociedad, who seem to have booked mid-table safety with their 4-0 in over Rayo last weekend.