top of page

LALIGA WEEKEND PREVIEW : as clasico takes center stage

It could all come down to this. The second Clasico of the season is set to play a crucial part in who is crowned as champions of La liga this season.

The title race pendulum swung back in Bacelona's favour last weekend after Real Madrid suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at


the hands of Levante.

Lionel Messi was at his ever best as he smashed four of Barca's five past Eibar in an emphatic victory to see the Catalan giants reclaim their place at the summit of the table.

Barcelona's surprise signing Martin Braithwaite made his debut for Quique Setien's side and went on to play a part in the win while it was more bad news for Real as they lost Eden Hazard to injury.

This weekend's round of fixtures could also prove to be the one of the most pivotal at both ends of the table with Champions League places up for grabs while those in the relegation zone continue to slog it out.

Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are locked in a battle for third place with each sitting on 43 points while Getafe – who lost 3-0 to Sevilla last weekend – are just a point behind both in fifth.

But what can we expect from this weekend's fixtures?

Real Sociedad vs Real Valladolid – Friday

The action kicks off in the Basque country where Real Sociedad welcome 15th-place Valladolid to the Anoeta Stadium.

La Real currently find themselves in and around the Europa League places and are just three points adrift of third-placed Atletico.

The hosts are in the midst of a fine run of form after putting up four consecutive victories, including a remarkable Copa del Rey win over Real Madrid.

Valladolid, meanwhile, aren't sitting quite as pretty. While they are seven points clear of the drop zone and just three points off 10th, a poor run could see them fall further into trouble.

The visitors did manage to walk away with a 2-1 win over rock-bottom Espanyol last week but their form has been slightly erratic of late.

Valladolid boss Sergio will be hoping his side can climb out of the bottom half with a win but they face a tough task against an in-form Sociedad side on Friday night.

Valencia vs Real Betis – Saturday

Valencia are currently on a five-game winless run in all competitions, which may provide Real Betis with some confidence going into the Saturday afternoon clash at the Mestalla.

However, while Valencia have struggled to get going, they haven't let up as they are currently unbeaten at home in the league this season having won seven and drawn six.

Betis will need to be wary of this weekend's hosts in the second half, which is where Albert Celades' men have been at their most dangerous, turning four half-time draws into full-time victories at home.

Betis boss Rubi will also be hoping his players can keep their heads going into this weekend's game, too. In their last four away games in La Liga, Betis have given up three penalties while also receiving three red cards for their troubles which has seen them drop to 13th in the table.

Should Valladolid walk away with a win at the Anoeta, Valencia can move into the Europa League places with a victory of their own, which would put them just a point behind Getafe who are fifth.

Espanyol vs Atletico Madrid – Sunday

With Sevilla playing Osasuna earlier in the day, Atletico will have to match whatever result Julen Lopetegui's side manage if they want to keep hold of third.

While they do find themselves in a dog-fight for a Champions League place, Diego Simeone will take comfort in the knowledge that this Sunday's opponents have been struggling this season.

Since mid-September, Espanyol have not left the relegation zone and have been rooted to the bottom of the table since early December.

The Catalan club are dangerously flirting with relegation but remain five points adrift of Celta Vigo, who sit just above the drop zone.

A win for Espanyol could be the turning point in their season and it's not totally impossible to dream up such a scenario.

In Atletico's last visit to RCDE Stadium, Simeone's men were beaten convincingly 3-0 last May while Abelardo Fernandez's men have won three out of the last five league encounters with Atleti.

The league standings suggests it will be a comfortable win for Atletico but stranger things have happened in La Liga this season.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona – Sunday

La Liga have saved the best till last. The second Clasico of the season takes place at the Bernabeu and there's all to play for.

A mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash pits the two fierce rivals against each other once again and it will surely go a long way to deciding where the trophy will end up in May.

Following the hype around the first Clasico being postponed due to political unrest in Catalonia, Real Madrid left the Nou Camp with a draw that could stand them in good stead in the head-to-head battle should they win on Sunday.

Their 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp in December was the first Clasico without any goals since 2002 and considering each team's current form, you can certainly expect another cagey affair.

Both Real and Barca have looked ropey this season and injuries are wreaking havoc ahead of the game.

It will be Quique Setien's first Clasico as Barcelona boss while Zidane will be hoping his exprience will see him through on the day.

The visitors will be missing their first choice full-backs, with Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba injured, but Gerard Pique should be fit to play after he limped off with an ankle injury late on in their 1-1 draw with Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Middlesbrough misfit Braithwaite could make an appearance with Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele unlikely to return this season due to serious injuries.

The hosts, on the other hand, are in a rocky patch of their own.

A deflating 2-1 loss against Manchester City on Wednesday, which saw Sergio Ramos sent off, is their third defeat in five games in all competitions while Barca have managed three wins out of five.

Hazard has also been ruled out of the encounter after picking up another injury last week.

The poor run of results also saw Zinedine Zidane's men surrender a two-point cushion at the top of La Liga and they now find themselves trailing Barca by that same gap.

Two of the league's top goalscorers this season, Messi and Karim Benzema, will most certainly be in the starting line-ups but questions remain over how the two sides will set up tactically. Will Zidane and Setien be cautious in their approach or go all out attack?

It's one of the most thrilling title races in years and fans can be sure to expect fireworks at the end of another action-packed weekend.

There's plenty of action going on at the bottom end of the table, with Celta Vigo and Leganes both in action on Saturday as the both to steer clear of relegation.

Celta have a tough task on their travels at Granada while Leganes host Alaves.

Athletic Bilbao welcome Villarreal to San Mames on Sunday in the lunchtime kick-off while Champions League hopefuls Sevilla and Getafe both have the chance to prove their top-four credentials as they take on Osasuna and Mallorca respectively.

Eibar will be hoping to shake off Barca's 5-0 dismantling last weekend when they welcome Levante for their Saturday lunchtime kick-off.

0 views0 comments


bottom of page