As discussed many times previously, the use of the word ‘final’ gets used alot by futbol managers and players when talking up a big game. I’m usually one to reject such a sentiment, however, Saturday’s Villarreal-Almeria has every right to be labeled as a true ‘final. It all comes down to one game. A singular confrontation between two teams level on points after 41 hardened weeks. And my God, it’s beautiful, isn’t it?
Good news for Submarino fans is that Uche prepares to be OK and will be slotted to start. “We’re going to play our game, our style,” insists Villarreal boss Marcelino when talking about the massive clash. “I wouldn’t trade spots with anyone,” noted Almeria coach Javi Gracia. Villarreal have the luxury of playing this one at El Madrigal, but can that, in a way, work against them? Surely the pressure will be on to get the result. Remember, just a draw is enough for the Submarino while the Andalucians need to win. Looks like Marcelino is gonna repeat last weekend’s winning lineup vs. Barca B. Charles was lethal last weekend against Girona and will be itching to score early. I think we’re in for a special match. One of those classic encounters that’ll be talked about for years. In the end, a DRAW will be enough for Villarreal to return to the Primera.
Shake yourselves Alcorcon, because before you know it, the playoffs are gonna slip through your fingers. The Madrid suburbanites haven’t won in their last five outings and need the three points to ensure they don’t get passed by Ponferradina and Las Palmas and miss out on the playoffs. Pepe Bordalas’ crew host Sabadell who have nothing to play for, except maybe a briefcase full of money. Ahem. In the end, I just can’t see Alcorcon choking this all away. HOME WIN.
So this week Murcia-Las Palmas went from being a match between a Pio Pio side needing to win against a relegated Murcia squad to a Pio Pio side needing to win against a Murcia squad still alive. The news of the LFP relegating Guadalajara for financial fraud has given a lifeline to three teams, Murcia included so now suddenly Las Palmas’ playoff lives have to go through a desperate Murcia with a sliver of hope. Murcia need to win and hope Huesca lose. As for Las Palmas, a win and they are in the playoffs. Something tells me this one ends up being wonky with late goals but in the end, barely, an AWAY WIN.
Ponferradina’s ill-timed draw last week versus Racing means they need a Las Palmas or Alcorcon slip up to make the playoffs. The El Bierzo bunch make the quick trip over to Lugo and assuredly many Bercianos will be in attendance. Lugo has nothing to play for so I kinda like a desperate Ponfe here. AWAY WIN.
So with the news of Guadalajara’s relegation as mandated by the LFP, the team that is in position to benefit the most is Huesca who control their own destiny. A win at Recreativo and they stay up… again. Listen, there’s no bigger Huesca fan than me (ok, that’s a lie. there are probably alot more. I’m pretty passive about the whole thing actually), but the fact that LFP President Javi Tebas has ties to the Aragon club and that Huesca boss Jorge D’Alessandro supposedly knew about the impending Guadalaja decision before last week’s match leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Recre have nothing to play for and while Huesca have always been a club that’s solvent and stayed within financial guidelines (we think), they’ve showed this season that, well, they’re just not good. DRAW.
So who stands to benefit from this? Racing. Yes, Racing. The team that probably deserves it the least, especially in terms of financial management. Hercules is their opponent this weekend and after a season-long struggle of digging themselves out of the relegation depths, the alicantinos have taken their foot off the gas once they secured safety. Expecting Racing here to roll to a win, and combined with the Huesca and Murcia results, somehow, improbably, Racing stay up. HOME WIN.
Other Segunda matches featuring teams thinking of Marbella summer vacations:
Elche-Guadalajara – Home Win
Girona-RM Castilla – Home Win
Mirandes-Sporting – Draw
Xerez-Barca B – Away Win
Numancia-Cordoba – Draw
-Arch Bell (twitter: @ArchBell)