The Premier League season ended last weekend and, this weekend, La Liga comes to a close. The biggest prize still up for grabs is a fourth place finish and the automatic Champions League qualification that comes with it.
Valencia currently reside in that spot on 58 points -- level with Getafe, but ahead via head-to-head record. Sevilla are in sixth, two points behind both Valencia and Getafe. While they could still finish fourth, at least they've already clinched a berth in next season's Europa League. Athletic Bilbao are in seventh, trying to sew up the final Europa League position. At the other end of the table, Celta Vigo just need a draw (or to avoid a six-goal swing) in order to confirm both their own safety, along with Girona's relegation to the Segunda.
You'll be taking a big chance if you bank on Lionel Messi as your Tier 1 Forward and captain this week. Barcelona has wrapped up the league title and their game against Eibar is the final one of the weekend. If Messi doesn't start, you'll have no alternatives, since teammate Luis Suarez is out due to injury.
Celta is a strong favorite this weekend. Not only does the team still have something to play for, but they're at home against Rayo Vallecano, who have already been relegated. Iago Aspas has scored 18 goals in just 26 appearances this season, good for fifth-most in the league. He's also put away eight goals in his last eight games. He'll be my Tier 1 forward and captain.
Antoine Griezmann is also intriguing, since he'll be playing his final game for Atletico Madrid, after announcing earlier this week that he's leaving the club. Still, Griezmann has had a relatively underwhelming season, with just 15 goals in 36 appearances -- including only three tallies in his past 12 games. Another player likely facing his last game with his current club is Real Madrid's Gareth Bale. He hasn't scored a goal since March 16 and wasn't even included on the matchday squad last week.
My Tier 1 Midfielder will be Dani Parejo, with Valencia also having much to play for and going up against a Real Valladolid side which secured their safety last week. Parejo has nine goals and six assists. He's also third in the league in chances completed with 80, as well as eighth in passes completed, averaging 52.1 per game.
Let 'er rip!
It's a tougher call at Tier 2 Forward, but I'm going back to the well with Celta Vigo by choosing Maxi Gomez. He has 13 goals in 34 appearances, and is also tied for ninth in the league in shots with 79. Not only have Celta's opponents, Rayo Vallecano, already been relegated, but they've also conceded 68 goals in 38 games -- four more than any other team in the league.
Speaking of shots, Ezequiel Aliva is seventh in the league with 84 shots, despite only starting 19 games. "Chimy" has scored nine of his 10 goals since the beginning of February. Avila's team, Huesca, has already been relegated. Still, he's taken 22 shots in his past four games, perhaps in the hopes of impressing enough to be able to move to a bigger club? Huesca are at home against another team with nothing to play for, 13th-place Leganes. Avila will be my Tier 2 Midfielder.
Álex Granell, Girona (Tier 3 Midfielder): Granell hasn't scored any goals this season, but he has four assists and 49 chances created, which ties him for 20th in the league. Besides, Granell is Girona's captain, so it's a pretty safe bet he will be highly motivated with them trying to pull off a miracle to stay in Primera. Plus, Granell could be on penalties, with leading scorer Cristhian Stuani out due to injury.
Gerard Pique, Barcelona (Tier 1 Defender): There are three Barcelona options in this tier, and at least one of them should start against Eibar on Sunday. Pique had a team-high 63 passes completed against Eibar the first time around, and is third in the league in that category for the season, averaging 62.1 per game.
Daniel Wass, Valencia (Tier 2 Defender): Wass has been playing in midfield of late, and had a goal and an assist against Huesca just two games ago. Plus, as mentioned above, Valencia have a lot still on the line. In fact, they are the biggest favorites of the weekend.
Neto, Valencia (Goalkeeper): He has 10 clean sheets this season, half as many as Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak. However, Neto's team should be much more motivated. Plus, he will be up against Real Valladolid. Not only did they just narrowly avoid relegation, but they've scored only 32 goals in 37 games -- four fewer than any other team.