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LaLigaWeekly On April - 19 - 2011

Segunda Focus: All Roads Lead Here

While I continue to bask in the glow of my nine correct predictions from last weekend, I must now turn my attention to this weeks games. This is a huge week with many pivotal games on the docket.

Barcelona B Betis is the headliner and with good reason. Betis were the team of the Segunda in the first half while Barca B have been the most dominant thus far in the second. These two teams battled to a 2-2 draw in Sevilla as part of a midweek make-up match that saw Betis blow a two goal second half lead.

One would think Barca B would be a favorite heading into this one especially with Achille Emana suspended and Salva Sevilla injured. But, as my amigo Adam from Ooh Betis brought up this morning, last nights Copa del Rey final may have helped Betis in that Pep Guardiola will be looking to call up a few of the Baby Blaugrana in order to rest his regulars who are in the midst of that grueling four clasicos. This is an excellent point and should not be overlooked. Im kinda leaning toward a big road win for Betis which would almost seal their automatic promotion with just seven games remaining after this weekend. ROAD WIN.

After Alcorcons comeback 3-2 win over Tenerife last weekend, the Madrid suburbanites are on the cusp of being in a playoff spot. This weekend they visit Gimnastic in what is another very winnable road game. Nastic are no pushovers, especially at home, but Alcorcon may have shaken off that road bestia negra that theyve had the whole season. Basically, any result on the road suits Alcorcon and I think theyll get another on Sunday. DRAW.

The Tenerife Trainwreck continues on Saturday with a home date against Villarreal B. The Baby Submariners arent as dangerous as their filial counterparts from Catalunya, but with Hernan Perez and Marcos Gullon, they are most definitely capable of tripping up some teams in this home stretch even after their awful 0-3 home loss to Cordoba. Meanwhile, I feel pity for some of the Tenerife players like Nino who has given his all this season. A great striker like that deserves to be on a good team. The canarios are running out of time and a tie at home wont help. DRAW.

For a while there Girona were the hottest team in the Segunda ripping off five straight wins and making their presence known in the playoff chase. But lately they have cooled off and let three points slip through their fingers in last weeks 2-2 draw with Elche. Now they visit Salamanca this weekend in what is a must-win for either side. Salamanca are really the only team in the drop zone with a realistic chance at survival being four points behind Nastic while Girona need all three to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. This is one of those road games Girona must win if they want to be there at the end. Really tough call here but Ill go with the Segundas best Tridente. ROAD WIN.

The Curse of Juan de Vigo can be extinguished forever with a Celta win this weekend in Balaidos. As chronicled here for the last two months, my friend Juan has gone to the last four Celta home matches which have all ended in losses. The Gallegos finally broke their winless streak beating Albacete last week and now they get to play last place Ponferradina at home. Cmon Juan! Stay home! HOME WIN.

Perhaps the most intriguing match of the week is in Cartegna with a very confident Valladolid coming to town. Abel Resinos squad have had an excellent second half of the season and theres no reason why it cant continue. Meanwhile, Carta have been plagued with inconsistent play and poor results including their last home match, a 1-3 beating at the hands of Recreativo. Just doesnt seem smart to bet against the pucelanos these days. ROAD WIN.

What happened in Vallecas two weeks ago is still dumbfounding. I am of course talking about Rayos choke job against Albacete where the vallecanos coughed up three goals in the final 15 minutes to end in a 3-3 draw. But to their credit, there was no hangover in El Bierzo last week as they gutted out a 0-1 win over Ponfe. Now they are home to take on Las Palmas who have been playing great the last two months. The Pio Pio are unbeaten in their last six with five wins and a draw. But there was some trouble this week after Guayre was arrested for being in his car on a sidewalk completely wasted out of his mind. Oops. Even without that distraction, I still think Rayo looks good to win. HOME WIN.

Elche continue their pursuit for a playoff spot on Saturday with a home date versus Huesca. Elche saved their bacon last week getting a late equalizer to snatch a 2-2 draw in Girona. Now, they face Huesca who are a tricky rival for teams on their home grounds. Tariq has been good of late for the visitors but Elche always seem to pull out 1-0 wins at home. Why change that now? HOME WIN.

Granada are in trouble of being overtaken by Alcorcon and Valladolid so they are desperate for a win this weekend against their Andalucian neighbors Cordoba. This one will be played just down the road from the Mezquita so Granada will be leaning on Alex Geijo to deliver some goods away from home for once. Its funny. I just get the sense that the final playoff spot is going to come down to Granada and Alcorcon and the team that gets the most points on the road from here on out will get in. Cordoba are feeling good after their 0-3 win over Villarreal B so no easy task here. DRAW.

Its not like Numancia played poorly last weekend in Granada, its just Granada knows how to take care of business at home, something that Numancia does relatively well. Heres the problem for them. They have to play Recreativo at home and we know what Recre can do to teams higher than them in the standings. Have I said its a shame that Recre started so poorly? They really could have been right there in this playoff chase if it hadnt been for that poor start. Oh well. DRAW.

Xerez pulled off the amazing feat last week of ending a match with eight players in their late 2-1 loss at Valladolid. The azulinos have been in a free fall this spring but a welcomed visitor in Albacete comes to town. After a mini-unbeaten streak of two (hey, when youre Albacete, those things matter), life has returned to normal for the Queso Mecanico as they sit deep in the drop zone. Xerez finally gets a win this weekend. HOME WIN.

Happy Easter everyone!

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