Matchday 24 promises some tense games in the 25th round of matches in Spain’s La Liga Santander as the battle for the title, for Europe and to avoid relegation gets closer than ever.
The weekend opens with Betis at home to Mallorca with Betis coach Joan Ferrer ‘Rubi’ needing to see his team get back to winning ways after a run of poor results has once again put him in the spotlight.
Real Madrid’s visit to Levante is one of the big games on Saturday and once again Zinedine Zidane will have to consider how many changes he makes to his side ahead of the following week’s Champions League tie to Manchester City.
Madrid dropped two points at home to Celta Vigo on Sunday to allow Barcelona to close the gap at the top of the table to just one point, which may make it less likely for him to rest key players such as Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal or Casemiro.
FC Barcelona are also in action on Saturday ahead of their return to European football.
Valencia face a difficult visit to play Real Sociedad in a game where a place in Europe is at stake.
The pressure is starting to build on Valencia coach Albert Celades after his side’s 4-1 drubbing in the Champions League away to Atalanta and a defeat against Real Sociedad, who didn’t play last weekend, could threaten his job. In fairness Celades has been hampered by a long injury list, with players such as Rodrigo Moreno, Francis Coquelin, Gabriel Paulista and Ezequiel Garay all out.
Saturday kicks off with Celta Vigo and Leganes in a relegation dogfight with Celta the favorites after Leganes’ striker Martin Braithwaite joined Barca leaving their attack looking very threadbare.
Sunday sees Granada entertain Osasuna in a mid-table game, while Athletic Club Bilbao look to end a run of nine games without a win when they visit Alaves. This is the first time since the turn of the year that Athletic have had a full week to prepare for a game due to their progress in the Copa del Rey.
Bottom of the table Espanyol visit Valladolid with striker Raul de Tomas rested after not playing in their Europa Liga game away to Wolverhampton.
Third place Getafe entertain fifth place Sevilla in what promises to be a key game in the battle to finish in the top-four. Sevilla have dropped points in recent matches and could struggle against a Getafe side that is incredibly tough to break down.
Finally Atletico Madrid with their confidence sky high after beating Liverpool in the Champions League, face Villarreal, who are one of the most in-form sides in La Liga.
Diego Costa could start for Atletico as the club tries to get him to full fitness for their return leg in Anfield three weeks from now. Enditem