PREVIEW | LaLiga Matchday 37

As is normally the case with LaLiga, all of this weekend’s matches (the penultimate matchday of the season) will be played on the same day at the same time (Sunday, 17:30 GMT).

This means that the drama at the top and bottom of the table will be decided in real time.

And with the competitiveness of this amazing season, we are sure to see some twists and turns yet.

The fight for the title

After Atlético Madrid’s stunning, though at times nervy, 2-1 win against Real Sociedad last Wednesday, Cholo Simeone’s men know that they are within touching distance of their second title under his stewardship and their first since 2014.

Defeats against Sevilla and Athletic Club and draws against Barcelona and Real Betis in recent weeks had halted their progress, but a win this weekend at home against Osasuna would put them as overwhelming favourites for LaLiga.

In such a case, Barcelona could no longer lift the title, and if Real Madrid were to lose or draw, Los Colchoneros would be champions with a game to spare.

Barcelona’s 3-3 draw against Levante on Tuesday night meant that their chances of regaining LaLiga are virtually over for a second successive season. Both Madrid clubs would have to fail to win both matches (with Barca winning both) for them to win the title.

Whilst Zinedine Zidane’s men have a better chance of retaining their title, they have a tough looking fixture this weekend away at Athletic Club; Marcelino’s men have drawn against Atlético Madrid and beaten Sevilla in recent weeks, despite having little to play for.

Real Madrid need to win both of their remaining matches and hope that Atlético drop points in either of their last two games in order to be crowned champions.

And although Sevilla are out of the title race, they could still overtake both Real Madrid and Barcelona and finish as high as second. Julen Lopetegui’s men thus have much to play for also.

Battle for Europe

The Champions League places are already decided, though the order is not.

There is however a three-way battle for the Europa League. Fifth place Real Sociedad are one point above both Real Betis and Villarreal.

And this weekend, these clubs face tough matches against teams who all have something to play for as Real Sociedad host Valladolid, Real Betis are at home against Huesca and Villarreal play Sevilla.

Victory for any of these sides would strengthen their challenge for a Europa League place going into the final day.

Regarding the European places, there are two further things to take into account.

Firstly, Villarreal could still get into the Champions League by beating Manchester United in this season’s Europa League Final on May 26.

Secondly, the team who finish in seventh place will get a place in the new UEFA Conference league, though if this were Villarreal and they were to win the Europa League, Spain would have no representative in the new competition.

Celta Vigo could still mathematically make the Europa League as they are five points adrift of Betis and Real Sociedad. But this weekend they face Barcelona at Camp Nou and the Galician side would need to beat them, win their final match and hope that two of those three sides challenging for the Europa League fail to win their last two matches.

It is unlikely, although stranger things have happened this season.

Relegation battle

Valencia, who are now in fifteenth place, and helped by their 3-0 victory over Real Valladolid, are no longer threatened by relegation.

But any three of the bottom six sides can still go down to the Second Division.

The onus this weekend is on the bottom three clubs (Eibar, Elche and Valladolid) who simply must win. All three are playing away from home.

Valencia vs Eibar

Cádiz vs Elche

Real Sociedad vs Real Valladolid

Whilst Alavés face a tough fixture against Granada, the Basque side are five points clear of the relegation zone and can breathe a little more comfortably.

Getafe know that a win in either of their remaining matches should be enough for survival.

Huesca face Real Betis away from home before hosting Valencia next week. The Aragonese side are only two points clear of the relegation zone.

Matchday 37

The title, Europa League places and relegation battle could all be settled this weekend, although it is more likely that this would happen on the final day.

But all the sides (whether at the top or the bottom) will be going into this weekend’s matches knowing that victory would help their cause. For some sides, it is a necessity.

With all the matches occurring at the same time, there is much to look forward to on Sunday evening. All 10 encounters have something riding on it.

It has already been a competitive season; the end promises to be a spectacular affair.

The fixtures in full:

Alavés vs Granada

Athletic Club vs Real Madrid

Atlético Madrid vs Osasuna

Barcelona vs Celta Vigo

Cádiz vs Elche

Getafe vs Levante

Real Betis vs Huesca

Real Sociedad vs Real Valladolid

Valencia vs Eibar

Villarreal vs Sevilla

James Felton

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