La Liga Match Day 31 Review – Atléti’s Title Hopes end at Camp Nou

Barcelona vs Osasuna Match Preview & Prediction

Match Day 30 saw some cracking midweek football and featured 3-3 and 4-4 draws involving teams at both ends of the table. There wasn’t quite as many goals over the weekend but there were plenty of twists and turns and some vital late strikes in the battles for survival and the European places. Read on for all the scores, highlights, expected goals and headlines from the latest round of fixtures in the Spanish Primera Division.


La Liga Match Day 31 Results, Expected Goals & Highlights

Saturday 6th April 2019

Girona 1-2 Espanyol (xG 1.36-0.38)

Real Madrid 2-1 Eibar (xG 1.67-0.69)

Rayo Vallecano 2-0 Valencia (xG 1.67-2.30)

Barcelona 2-0 Atletico Madrid (xG 2.57-1.03)

Sunday 7th April 2019

Alaves 1-1 Leganes (xG 0.9-0.83)

Getafe 1-0 Athletic Club (xG 1.29-0.72)

Real Valladolid 0-2 Sevilla (xG 1.31-2.2)

Levante 2-2 Huesca (xG 2.6-1.76)

Celta Vigo 3-1 Real Sociedad (xG 2.99-1.24)

Real Betis 2-1 Villarreal (xG 1.26-1.88)

Links lead to Youtube highlights via the official La Liga channel and may contain ads. xG via UnderStat.


Barça battle past 10-man Atleti to end Title Race

The best team this season are going to win La Liga. Barcelona moved 11 points clear at the top on Saturday evening with a hard-fought win against a spirited Atletico Madrid side that was reduced to ten men inside half an hour. Diego Costa’s questionable choice of language left his side with what was effectively mission impossible.

To their credit, Atleti showed plenty of the battling qualities that they’ve been accused of losing. When their defence was breached, Jan Oblak produced some inspired saves and it looked as though Diego Simeone’s men were going to grind out a draw until Luis Suarez produced another moment of brilliance to break the deadlock on 85 minutes. It was almost immediately followed by another from Messi as any vague notion of a title race was emphatically ended for good.

The Catalans can now afford to take their foot off the gas in La Liga and focus all their energies on the Champions League. Atleti meanwhile must now start contemplating how they are going to approach what could be a very difficult summer.

Hope for Rayo

The race for 4th place took another twist this weekend. Just when it looked as though Valencia were emerging as the outstanding candidate for the final Champions League place, they fell to a shock defeat in Vallecas. Wins for Getafe and Sevilla now leave Los Che 4 points off that position with more distractions than any of their rivals for European qualification.

It was a huge win for Rayo Vallecano who suddenly have reason to believe again under Paco Jemez. They are now just three points from safety and significantly four of their final six games are against fellow strugglers. With the likes of Valladolid and Levante in apparent freefall, it’s not impossible.

Aspas Strikes Again

Celta Vigo took another huge leap in the direction of safety with a 3-1 home win over Real Sociedad. Almost inevitably it was Iago Aspas who was the star of the show again in the pouring Galician rain which rendered sections of the pitch almost unplayable. Just like last weekend against Villarreal, Celta scored three unanswered Second Half goals to completely turn the game around. They were aided by a red card to Willian Jose, who had given the Basque side the lead in the First Half.

There was more good news to come for Celta as Villarreal lost 2-1 at Betis in the late game with Santi Cazorla taking an awful penalty in the final minutes. Celta end the weekend in 16th, two points above the drop-zone.


Match Day 31 in Numbers

  • Valencia’s 17 game unbeaten run in all competitions ended against Rayo.
  • The victory ended Rayo’s run of just 1 point from 9 games.
  • Leo Messi and Luis Suarez have now scored 53 goals between them in La Liga this season. That’s more than every other side in the division besides Real Madrid who have scored 55.
  • Celta Vigo have scored 9 goals in 9 days, with fit-again Iago Aspas netting 5 to potentially salvage their season. They’d gone 4 straight games without scoring prior to that.
  • Valladolid’s 2-0 loss to Sevilla was their 8th home defeat of the season in La Liga. No side has lost more on their own patch.

Up Next…

There’s European action this week but only three Spanish teams remain in the continental competitions. Two of them face each other as Valencia and Villarreal meet in the Europa League on Thursday, while Barcelona travel to Old Trafford on Wednesday in the Champions League. La Liga is back with a bang next Saturday with the Seville derby while it’s the Valencia derby at the Mestalla the following day, a game of real importance to both sides with Los Che chasing 4th and Levante now in the relegation scrap.


Follow La Liga Expert on Twitter | Like us on Facebook

Check out our La Liga On the Road series for more on the match-day experience in Spain.


Spanish football writer
About Mark Sochon 1538 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has also lived in Seville and Barcelona and has written extensively about Spanish football. His work has been published by the likes of Guardian Sport & World Soccer.