LALIGA EA SPORTS Matchday 38 preview: Several players and clubs still have objectives to meet in the season’s final round

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The final round of the 2023/24 LALIGA EA SPORTS season is here and there are still several interesting storylines to follow, even if most of the main battles have already been decided. For just the third time in the history of the competition, the championship, the European race and the relegation battle have been settled before the final round, but there are individual prizes still up for grabs and other objectives too.

The top scorer award, called the Pichichi Trophy, will most certainly be on Artem Dovbyk’s mind when he and his Girona FC teammates take to the field in the first game of Matchday 38, when Granada CF visit Catalonia on Friday. The Ukrainian striker is now two goals behind Villarreal CF’s Alexander Sørloth, following the Norwegian’s four-goal display against Real Madrid last weekend, but Dovbyk has scored a hat-trick at the Estadi Montilivi already this season and will give his all to conjure up another.

However many goals Dovbyk manages on Friday, Sørloth will have the chance to respond in the first of Saturday’s games, when Villarreal CF make the trip to Pamplona to play CA Osasuna. The Norwegian will hope to silence a lively home crowd, when the CA Osasuna fans bid farewell to Jagoba Arrasate, following six seasons as coach.

Two more individual awards will be in play when sixth-placed Real Sociedad take on fourth-placed Atlético de Madrid at the Reale Arena on Saturday afternoon. Home goalkeeper, Álex Remiro still has a chance of winning the Zamora Trophy for the best-performing goalkeeper, while Los Colchoneros striker, Álvaro Morata needs one more goal to stand alone at the top of the rankings for the Zarra Trophy, the prize for the top-scoring Spaniard. It’ll be fascinating to see them go up against each other in this duel.

There are two simultaneous games at 18:30 CEST on Saturday, one of which is also key to the Zamora Trophy standings. Unai Simón of Athletic Club will hope to pick up a clean sheet away at Rayo Vallecano, as he dreams of winning this award for the first time. Meanwhile, in the other game at that kick-off time, UD Almería and Cádiz CF will look to savour their last experience of LALIGA EA SPORTS for a while, as the two Andalusian clubs face off ahead of their already-confirmed relegations to LALIGA HYPERMOTION.

Real Madrid may have wrapped up the title weeks ago, but they too have an objective in mind when they host Real Betis on Saturday night. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have the chance to go unbeaten at their home stadium across the entire 2023/24 season, as they haven’t lost a single match at the Bernabéu in any competition this term. The last time they achieved this was 1996/97, so this would be a historic achievement if they can avoid defeat against Los Verdiblancos.

Sunday is the final day of the entire season and Getafe CF vs RCD Mallorca is the first game up. Both sides can play with some freedom, knowing that they’ll be back in the top tier for the 2024/25 campaign.

RC Celta can also enjoy a calmer final day at Balaídos than in some previous years, when they take on Valencia CF in one of Sunday’s two 16:15 CEST kick-offs. The other game happening at that same time is UD Las Palmas vs Deportivo Alavés, a duel between two teams who came up last season and who have both managed to avoid relegation.

At 21:00 CEST on Sunday, Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona meet at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán in the final game of the 2023/24 LALIGA EA SPORTS season, and this is another important duel when it comes to deciding where the Zamora Trophy will go. If Athletic Club’s Unai Simón concedes at least one goal in his game, then FC Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen would be able to win and retain this prize with a clean sheet. In other words, that individual award could come down to the very last seconds of the last game of the season.  

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