Liga 123 Week 36: Real Zaragoza looking to bounce back

Liga 123 Week 36: Real Zaragoza looking to bounce back

April 21, 2018 Off By Martin Devlin

Real Zaragoza entertain Almería today, looking to put last week’s 2-1 loss to Rayo behind them.  The Zaragozans are a team with genuine promotion credentials and shot up the table thanks to a run of seven wins and a draw before they were ambushed by last-placed Sevilla Atlético four weeks ago.

This seemed to knock their confidence slightly and they laboured past lowly Cultural in their next match, before edging Huesca with a score of 1-0 in each game.  Last week’s loss saw them drop out of the playoff places, but a win at home would put them right back in the mix.  They are strong at La Romareda, winning six out of seven of their last home matches.

Almería are struggling and their recent form has yielded only two points from an available 15.  They currently sit in 17th, teetering precariously above the relegation zone and level on points with Córdoba and Cultural below them.  The latter could overtake them with a win or draw against Granada on Sunday night, which would further embroil Lucas Alcaraz’s side in a relegation dogfight.

Gimnàstic face a difficult home fixture against in-form Numancia at the Nou Estadi.  The visitors have stormed up the standings from eighth to fourth in the last five weeks and are on a run of three consecutive wins.  In their last five matches, they have won four of them so they are a team that Nàstic will not relish facing.  In 16th, the Catalans could be forgiven for looking over their shoulders as they are far from safe.

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They have amassed 42 points on the year but that is only three points above a relegation place so there is little margin for error.  A loss against Numancia would allow the teams behind them a very good chance of catching them.  Despite losing to Real Oviedo away last week, they put up a good showing against Real Valladolid the previous week and stole a win with a very late goal.  One point in their favour is that they often apply themselves better against teams in the top half of the table.  This is shown by wins over Granada, Osasuna and Rayo since the turn of the year.  The last time these teams clashed, Gimnàstic emerged victorious by a score of 2-1 with a late goal from Ikechukwu Uche in November last year.

Albacete welcome Reus to the Carlos Belmonte in a crucial match for both sides as the hosts are only two points and one league place above their opponents.  Both teams’ form has been inconsistent which has been a source of frustration for their respective managers.  Albacete have earned four draws in their last six matches and ran Rayo close a few weeks ago in a 1-0 loss.  They haven’t won since mid-March when they beat bottom-side Sevilla Atlético.  Reus sprang a surprise on fourth-placed Cádiz last week, handing the Andalusians their first loss in five matches, but this is the highlight in an otherwise bland spell for the Catalans.  A win today would allow them to leap over Albacete and would give them a boost ahead of a difficult match against Real Zaragoza next week.

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Tenerife were shocked by Cultural Leonesa last week when they conceded three goals in the first half and eventually went down 3-2.  This was a hammer-blow for the Blanquiazules as they missed out on the opportunity to end the week in the playoff places.  As it stands, they sit in 10th place on 55 points but are only four points off the coveted sixth spot in the league.  They host Huesca in Santa Cruz this evening.  Had this match come last week, all signs would have pointed to a home win as Rubi’s side were on an incredible eight-match run without a win having been comfortable leaders prior to this.  However, the men from El Alcoraz showed their mettle against Barcelona B on Monday to recover from going a goal down to win 2-1 with two goals within four minutes aiding their cause.  This brought their slide to an end and could well be the spark required to get their title bid back on track.