Spain’s La Liga goes into its 12th round of matches this weekend, with only three games left before the league suspends for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The weekend will be a hangover for Barcelona, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, who all saw their Champions League hopes ended in midweek, while Real Madrid still left themselves with work to do to ensure they finish top of their qualifying group.
Friday’s match sees Mallorca at home to Espanyol, with both teams looking to try and consolidate themselves in mid-table before the break.
Celta Vigo coach Eduardo Coudet is under a bit of pressure as his side travels to Almeria on Saturday lunchtime and as usual, he will look to the skill of Iago Aspas to produce something to swing the game his side’s way, reports Xinhua.
Atletico Madrid have to recover from dramatic 2-2 draw at home to Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday that ended their hopes of continuing in the Champions League, ahead of their visit to Cadiz.
Cadiz’s improved run of form came to a crashing halt last weekend as they lost 5-1 to Rayo Vallecano and Sergio Gonzalez is without the suspended duo of Issac Carcelan and Ruben Alcaraz after they were both sent off last week in Vallecas.
Rayo travel to Sevilla, who at least assured a place in the Europa League with a 3-0 win against Copenhagen in midweek. Now Jorge Sampouli’s side needs to recover some domestic form if they want to start climbing the table, but they are likely to be without striker, Youssef En Nesyri due to injury.
Barcelona’s visit to Valencia is Saturday’s big game and the big question is whether we will see the Barca that easily won league games against Villarreal and Athletic Club, or the Barca that failed in Europe for a second consecutive season and lost 3-0 to Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Mestalla is always a hostile ground for Barca to visit and this will be another test of personality for a team that has at times looked mentally fragile.
Osasuna take on a solid Valladolid on Sunday lunchtime in a game that is likely to be decided by a single goal either way, before Real Madrid entertain Girona.
Madrid’s unbeaten record came to an end in Leipzig in midweek, but Carlo Ancelotti will be able to being players such as Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Fede Valverde into the side after they were rested for the visit to Germany.
Third from bottom Girona score plenty of goals and the focus will be on Real Madrid’s Brazilian loanee, Reinier Jesus.
Athletic Club Bilbao produced their worst display of the season when they lost 4-0 in Barcelona last Sunday and Ernesto Valverde will look for an immediate reaction when they entertain Villarreal.
Ander Herrera and Dani Garcia are out injured against a rival that suffered the shock departure of coach Unai Emery to Aston Villa on Monday, replacing him with Quique Setien on Tuesday.
Just to add extra spice to the game, Setien is the man who replaced Valverde, when he was sacked by Barca in January 2020.
Sunday’s last game is another between rivals with European hopes as Real Sociedad face Betis. Both sides lost a week ago, with Real Sociedad slipping up 1-0 in Valladolid and Betis falling at home to Atletico Madrid, reports Xinhua.
Real Sociedad’s injury list got longer with the addition of David Silva in midweek, while Alexander Sorloth is suffering from a bout of flu, but should be fit, while Sergio Canales returns from suspension for Betis to face one of his former clubs.
The round of matches ends on Monday with a relegation duel between winless Elche and fourth from bottom Getafe.