Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. ET
We finish our action around Europe this week with defending Spanish champions Real Madrid taking on last-placed Deportivo, in a match that seems very straightforward to call.
But perhaps it won't be, and whilst I might be going out on a limb for this one, I genuinely am not convinced that Real Madrid will have it all that easy this weekend.
Madrid have nothing to play for this year in La Liga. They're not going to win the title, but they're still fine in terms of Champions League qualification. Their heart isn't necessarily in it at the moment, and their last match against Rayo Vallecano proved they can be completely dominated from time to time.
And whilst Deportivo currently sit in 20th position, they could genuinely be the team to challenge Madrid here. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they did.
Without a win in their past six, it's easy to rule out the home side here, but the context of those results—particularly at home—must be taken into consideration.
Their last home match was a 3-0 loss to Granada, who have been one of the top teams since a change of manager. Before that, they had earned a result against Valencia until the final minutes of play gave them a loss. Before that, they beat fourth-placed Malaga 1-0, held Valledolid 0-0 and nearly finished with a draw (either 2-2 or 3-3) against Betis back at the start of December.
Deportivo have been playing a lot better at home than the numbers suggest, and if Madrid switch off like they did last week (albeit after a red card), we could well have an upset.
I think it might be more of the same from the relegation battlers in terms of conceding late goals, but don't be surprised to see Madrid struggle here.
Especially if their heart isn't in this one—like we've seen can happen away from home throughout the season.
Prediction: Deportivo 0, Real Madrid 1
What are your predictions for the weekend? Any you agree or disagree with?
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