Round 36 of La Liga matches sees the bottom two teams face-off in the last chance saloon. With three games remaining Numancia and Recreativo are respectively five and four points from safety and defeat for either side would all but guarantee their relegation.
There are eight teams battling to avoid the trapdoor and with only seven points separating 13th placed Racing Santander from Numancia, it promises to be a nervous end to the season for many.
Numancia have gained four points from their last two games, without conceding a goal. This new-found defensive solidity could be crucial to their survival hopes, as they have struggled for goals themselves all season, failing to score on 15 occasions.
Recreativo eased to a 3-1 victory in the previous meeting between the sides this term, but, with regards to La Liga betting, I am backing Numancia to edge this one. The visitors have been leaking goals in losing eight of their last 10, although defeat in this one would not take things totally out of their own hands – their remaining fixtures are against Santander and Sporting Gijon, two teams in the mire.
Indeed, Gijon, respectively two points and one point clear of Numancia and Recreativo and two points adrift of 17th placed Osasuna, appear destined to be playing Segunda División football next season.
They have conceded 76 goals from their 35 games, 10 more than anyone else and I reckon the most porous defence in a league can normally be expected to be relegated. They have actually recovered relatively well after shipping 20 goals in losing their first five matches, but they are in danger of finishing how they started.
One point from their last eight games suggests a bottom three finish is inevitable and I can’t see them upsetting the Spanish football odds and beating eighth placed Malaga this weekend, despite having home advantage. I fancy the visitors to edge a high-scoring thriller.