Almeria vs Barcelona Prediction: Back a big second 45 for the Visitors

 | Wednesday 15th May 2024, 13:47pm

Wednesday 15th May 2024, 13:47pm

Mark Sochon's La Liga Tips

Barcelona fans won't be happy with how their 23/24 campaign has gone but second place in La Liga is the bare minimum that they would expect. 

A trip to Almeria on Thursday night (20:30), live on Premier Sports 1 awaits and our Spanish football expert Mark Sochon thinks they can take a big step towards their goal in this one. Check out his Almeria vs Barcelona predictions below...

Almeria vs Barcelona Betting Tips

  • Fermín López to score anytime @ 7/4
  • Barcelona Over 1.5 2nd Half Goals @ 21/20

Barcelona can move a step closer to clinching 2nd place and with it the final slot in next season’s Spanish Supercopa when they travel to bottom club UD Almería on Thursday night.

With the title long gone, there looked a real danger that Barça would finish below their Catalan rivals Girona when Xavi’s team slumped to a second 4-2 defeat of the season against their neighbours earlier this month.

However Girona’s defeat on Tuesday against Villarreal leaves Barcelona firmly in pole position to be the runners up and they’ll hold a four point advantage with only two games to play should they win this.

Barça were last in action on Monday night, seeing off Real Sociedad 2-0 at home thanks to goals from Lamine Yamal and Raphinha. Ronald Araújo dropped to the bench after a shaky few months from a player who was considered Barcelona’s best centre back, if not necessarily a natural fit for the club’s style of play.

There has been speculation about his future and it’ll be interesting to see whether he returns over the final few games. It was a slightly more assured defensive display on Monday from the Catalans in Araújo’s absence, although they weren’t severely tested by a Real Sociedad side that adopted quite a cautious approach, bringing in an extra centre back for the game.

It’s six wins from eight overall in La Liga for Barcelona with their only defeats in that period coming on the road against Girona and Real Madrid. Those are also the only away losses that have been inflicted on Xavi’s men this term in the league and while it hasn’t always been convincing, they’ve generally been doing the business in fixtures such as this one.

On the surface, this should be a routine enough assignment for Barça. Almería are already relegated after a miserable season that has seen them collect just 17 points and fail to win a single home game.

Their only two league victories have both come since the experienced Pepe Mel was appointed in March though and they can take a bit of confidence from the reverse fixture when they competed well and twice equalised at the Estadi Olímpic, before succumbing to a 3-2 defeat as a result of late goal from Sergi Roberto.

Almería have tended to raise their game against the stronger sides this season, scoring twice in all of their away games against the top three. They’ve also avoided defeat in four of their five home games to date against teams currently in the top six which should at least give punters food for thought ahead of this one.

That will be little consolation to their supporters who were dreaming of far bigger things when they clinched promotion to the top flight with the backing of their wealthy Saudi owner in 2022. Talk of Almería rising to be a genuine new force in Spanish football has failed to materialise with survival only clinched in the final minutes of the 2022/23 campaign while this season they’ve statistically been one of the worst teams to ever play at this level.

The Power Horse Stadium should still be packed for the visit of Barcelona and the last big night at the Andalusian ground before they slip down into the Segunda División.

Team News:

Barcelona make the long trip south without İlkay Gündoğan who is suspended after picking up a booking against Real Sociedad. Fermín López will almost certainly replace him, but there could be rotation elsewhere with the likes of Ferran Torres, João Félix and Héctor Fort pushing for starts.

Xavi will be missing Frenkie de Jong, Gavi and Alejandro Balde again to injury with only the latter standing any chance of featuring again for Barça this term.

As for Almería, they are not dealing with any notable injuries right now, but are missing Largie Ramazani again with the winger serving the third match of a four game ban.

Mel may make light changes to the eleven that started the 3-2 defeat at Real Betis at the weekend. César Montes and Bruno Langa should return in defence while Sergio Arribas and Luka Romero may be used in the wide attacking roles for this one.

Almeria vs Barcelona Odds

*Please click on the link above to be taken to the main Almeria vs Barcelona market page on betfred.com (or app) for all the live betting prices on this match.

Unsurprisingly, Barcelona are the strong favourites at 4/9. The draw is priced at 4/1 while Almería are available at 11/2 to record their first home win of the season at the 18th attempt.

That seems unlikely, but if you fancy the hosts to at least be competitive, you can back Almería +2.00 Handicap at 7/10 while Almería +1.00 Handicap is on offer at 15/8.

On the other hand, you can back the visitors to pile on the misery for their already relegated hosts, with Barcelona and Over 3.5 Goals available at 6/4 while you can back Over 2.5 Away Team Goals at Evens.

The expectation is that this match will produce goals with Both Teams to Score short at 8/15 while Over 3.5 Goals is available at 5/6.

The risk of midweek rotation and the chance of key payers being withdrawn makes the goalscorer markets a bit harder to read though. Robert Lewandowski is the 8/11 favourite to score anytime while Anthony Lozano is the shortest priced Almería player at 15/8 to get on the scoresheet.

Bet 1 - Fermín López to score anytime @ 7/4

One player who looks certain to start given Gündoğan’s absence is Fermín López. He is perhaps the perfect player to bring in for a late season, midweek game to inject a bit of energy in midfield.

The 21 year old should get into plenty of advanced positions in this game and he’s had a real breakthrough season, frequently demonstrating his eye for a goal.

Despite not being considered a regular starter, he’s on eight goals for the season from midfield. Across La Liga and Champions League games, he averages a goal every 214 minutes which is an excellent strike rate for a midfield player and I’m backing Fermín López to score anytime at 7/4.

Bet 2 - Barcelona Over 1.5 2nd Half Goals @ 21/20

This is a fixture that Barcelona clearly should win and while they’ve not had the most convincing season, they have been scoring more freely this term than was the case in their 2022/23 title winning campaign.

One trend throughout has been their tendency to do most of the damage after the break. 68% of their league goals have come after the break and they could pull clear in this game in the Second Half, particularly if the likes of Lamine Yamal and Raphinha are rested and introduced after the interval.

I’m backing Barcelona Over 1.5 2nd Half Goals at 21/20 with Xavi’s team capable of taking a big step towards sealing 2nd place.

You can check out Mark's La Liga Betting Tips along with those from the rest of the Betfred Insights Spanish Football writers on our La Liga home page... 

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