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PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 May, 2007, 12:00am
 

There is one title still to be won in the major European leagues, and it has turned into the closest and most exciting race of all. With three games to play in Spain's Primera Liga, four teams are locked in battle, with Real Madrid narrowly in front.


Real and Barcelona both have 69 points but, while some league tables have Barcelona on top on goal difference, that is not the deciding factor in Spain. If two teams finish level on points, they are split first on their head-to-head record, and Real (with a win and a draw against Barcelona) have the advantage over the reigning champions.


Three wins will give Real their first title in four years and they may need only to match Barcelona's results, though the proximity of Sevilla and Valencia (two and four points behind respectively) gives little room for breathing space.


Real appear to have a relatively easy task tonight against Deportivo La Coruna, one of the few teams in Spain that can be said with certainty to have nothing left to play for. Real have a good home record against Deportivo (seven wins from their last 10) and are on a run of five straight home wins.


Barcelona renew rivalry with Getafe, who knocked them out of the Copa del Rey earlier this month after staging an amazing comeback with a 4-0 home win in the second leg. Barcelona won the home leg 5-2, however, and are likely to avenge that defeat back at home.


The more interesting games from a betting viewpoint are those involving Sevilla and Valencia, even though they face high-ranking teams who are in contention for the Uefa Cup places. Sevilla's home record under Juande Ramos is excellent, particularly against the better sides, and they should beat Zaragoza, whose away form is below par.


Valencia rank third on home form behind Seville and Barcelona, and they rate an even better bet to beat Villarreal. Valencia have won six out of eight at home in this derby in all competitions since Villarreal returned to the top division.


The other bet in Spain is Atletico Madrid, who can bounce back from last week's 6-0 humiliation by Barcelona with victory at Gimnastic. The difference in the quality of the opposition is stark: from the reigning champions to the team on course to finish with the third-lowest points total in the past 10 seasons. The odds on Atletico are not generous, and for better odds it is worth considering Atletico on the 'HaFu', as they have been winning at half-time in their past 11 away wins.


The last piece of business in England is the Football League play-offs, which will decide the final promotion places. At the outset, it was suggested that the Derby v Southampton semi-final was likely to provide the winner in the Championship, and Derby have the form to overcome West Brom. Blackpool had the strongest credentials going into the League One play-offs and should land their 10th straight win against Yeovil in the final.


Homes: Valencia Aways: Atletico Madrid


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