The hangover from last weekend’s ‘Clasico’ between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona will last on the 27th round of games this weekend in the Liga Santander as Barca need to recover from their defeat in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium while Madrid look to build on their triumph.
The weekend begins on Friday night with Alaves, who have been in good form, at home to Valencia, who travel without several key defenders such as Ezequiel Garay, Cristiano Piccini and Francis Coquelin. Valencia coach Albert Celades will have to consider resting players ahead of his side’s Champions League tie at home to Atalanta, where Valencia will have to try and fight back from 4-1 down in a ground closed to fans due to fears of the coronavirus.
Eibar have a great chance to put some ground between themselves and the relegation zone when they entertain third from bottom Mallorca in the Ipurua Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.
Saturday’s second game is vital for qualification for next season’s Champions League as fifth placed Atletico Madrid entertain Sevilla, who moved up to third with a dramatic win at home to Osasuna.
Yet, Sevilla have not convinced in recent games and Atletico will think they have a good chance of taking all three points, despite having one eye on next week’s Champions League tie away to Liverpool and a suspension for midfielder Thomas Partey.
Barcelona are next up with a vital game at home to Real Sociedad. The Basque side will travel with their morale sky high after qualifying for their first Copa del Rey final in 32 years on Wednesday night and they are playing some of the best football in Spain.
Players such as Martin Odegaard, Adnan Januzaj, Alexander Isak and Mikel Oyerzabal are sure to test a Barca midfield and defense that looked tired against Madrid and the game will be a test of Barca’s morale as much as their footballing talents after a week of negative stories in the press.
Celta Vigo have slowly climbed away from the relegation zone after two wins and two draws in their last four games, although that form will be tested on their visit to face an ever-difficult Getafe, who remain fourth.
Real Madrid’s visit to play Betis is the big game on Sunday with home coach Rubi under mounting pressure after a run of seven games without a win in all competitions, despite a squad which looks capable of doing much better.
Madrid travel with the wind in their sails after regaining the league leadership with the only possible issue for coach Zinedine Zidane the lack of goals from Karim Benzema and the loss of Eden Hazard with a broken ankle.
Other games on Sunday see bottom-of-the-table Espanyol desperate for all three points from their visit to face Osasuna, while Valladolid would ease any fears of relegation if they can beat Athletic Club Bilbao, who are in Cup semifinal action on Thursday night.
Athletic’s cup rivals, Granada are also short of recovery time ahead of their visit to Levante, who need to recover from last weekend’s defeat to Eibar, while Villarreal will expect all three points from struggling Leganes, who are suffering after the loss of strikers Youssef En-Nesyri and Martin Braithwaite to Sevilla and Barcelona respectively. Enditem