Analysis: Four things to look out for in Spain's Matchday 37

2021-05-15 11:06:10 GMT2021-05-15 19:06:10(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

MADRID, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The penultimate round of games in La Liga are all played at the same time on Sunday which will only serve to heighten the tension on a day when everything or nothing could be decided. Here are some things to look out for on Sunday.

1 Can Atletico hold their nerve?

Atletico Madrid go into Sunday with a two-point lead over Real Madrid, but an inferior head-to-head goal difference means if the two teams end the season level on points, Real Madrid will be champions.

Atletico beat Real Sociedad - arguably their toughest rival until the end of the season - 2-1 in a nerve-wracking game on Wednesday, but they had to cling on in the last 10 minutes after missing enough chances to have the game won by halftime.

Sunday's rivals Osasuna, have nothing to play for but pride, but are one of the form sides in the second half of the season and will give nothing away. The question is. Can Atletico keep their nerve, take their chances and take another step towards the title?

2 Can Athletic Club thwart Real Madrid?

Real Madrid need to win in Athletic Club Bilbao's San Mames stadium to keep their title hopes alive in a game with plenty of options. If Atletico fail to beat Osasuna and Real Madrid win, then Real will go to the top of the table, while a win for Atletico coupled with Real Madrid dropping points in San Mames would see Atletico crowned champions with a game to play.

Real Madrid are without key players through injury but showed they are not giving up with a convincing win in Granada on Thursday. Athletic Club, who have nine players out themselves, ended a nine-game run without defeat as they lost in Huesca.

Real Madrid will be pleased at seeing Mateu Lahoz named as matchday referee: the official has refereed Athletic in 37 league games of which they lost 24 and won just six, which is a surprising statistic to say the least for a side that usually finishes in the top half of the table.

3 What will Barca do?

FC Barcelona all but surrendered their title hopes with a 3-3 draw away to Levante on Tuesday, which leaves them four points behind Atletico Madrid, so they need both the league leaders and Real Madrid to drop points to have any chance in the last weekend.

With the title all but gone and ever-increasing questions over Ronald Koeman's future, the interesting thing about this game will be how his players react. If they dig deep and give everything, it will help the Dutchman's case to continue for another season, but if they produce an insipid display against Celta Vigo, who still have a chance of playing in Europe, it could see him move closer to the exit door.

4 Nerve-wracking at the bottom

The fight to avoid relegation could also be decided with six teams within five points of each other. Bottom of the table Eibar face a difficult visit to Valencia, while Valladolid travel to fifth place Real Sociedad. Second from bottom Elche play in Cadiz and fourth from bottom Huesca also face a difficult game away to sixth place Betis. There is a chance that only Alaves, who play at home to Granada, will get the points they need to breathe easy in the last weekend. Enditem