Real Madrid look to peg back leaders Atleti !
Real Madrid have had an excellent week, taking six points out of six available with victories on Saturday and Tuesday. This, coupled with league leaders Atlético de Madrid dropping points last time out vs Celta, has really sparked the title race into life as just five points (and two games in hand) separate the city rivals at the top of the table. As Matchday 23 arrives, Los Blancos will be hoping to close the gap further but they’ll have to overcome a Valencia team who thrashed them 4-1 earlier in the season.
The league leaders are then in action in the first of Saturday’s fixtures, as Atlético de Madrid travel to Granada CF. After an eight-match winning streak was ended in their previous outing, Atleti will be looking to get back to winning ways to strengthen their position at the top of the standings. They’ll have fond memories of playing Granada too, after thrashing the Andalusian outfit 6-1 in their opening game of this campaign.
Sevilla FC face SD Huesca in the next game, which is a battle between teams at opposite ends of the standings and teams with different objectives. Sevilla are aiming for a top four finish, while their opponents are simply looking to move off bottom place in the table. Two other teams in relegation trouble then clash in the next fixture as SD Eibar host Real Valladolid. Both of these teams are level on 20 points at the edge of the relegation zone, so the stakes could not be higher.
FC Barcelona and D. Alavés then square off in the Saturday night game in a match-up between two coaches who know each other very well. Ronald Koeman and Abelardo used to play centre-back together for Barça back in the 1990s under Johan Cruyff, but they’ve never taken each other on as coaches. It’ll be a special occasion, then, as they cross paths again at the Camp Nou, but the focus will be on the three points once the ball gets rolling.
Then comes Real Madrid vs Valencia CF at 4.15pm CET on Sunday afternoon. This is a classic LaLiga fixture which has produced so many goals in recent years, with an average of 3.7 goals per game over the past eight seasons. Five goals went in during their previous meeting with Valencia running away with a 4-1 win thanks to a hat-trick of penalties from Carlos Soler. If Real Madrid want to keep up the pressure on Atleti, they’ll need to find a way past Los Che this time around.
Watch LaLiga Santander live this weekend on beIN Sports (Channel 818 Astro)