LaLiga Santander set for Basque, Valencia Derbies; Real Madrid look to Extend Lead
Leaders Real Madrid will look to stay ahead of the rest in a LaLiga weekend which also has a clash of philosophies at the Camp Nou and derbies in both the Basque Country and Valencian community.
Zinedine Zidane’s table-topping side will go looking for a sixth successive LaLiga Santander win on Sunday evening when they welcome RC Celta to the Bernabeu in what could be a first outing of 2020 for fit again Belgian international Eden Hazard.
Celta have just one point from their last seven LaLiga visits to the Bernabeu, although Oscar Garcia’s team moved out of the bottom three last weekend with a merited win at home to Sevilla.
Barcelona welcome Getafe on Saturday afternoon with the Blaugrana team never having lost in this fixture. The visitors, however, have also never come to the Camp Nou in third spot in the table, after winning each of their last four LaLiga games. There’s extra spice too as rivalry between coaches Quique Setien and Jose Bordalas dates back to a Lugo vs Alcorcon in LaLiga SmartBank in 2013.
LaLiga’s weekend action begins today (Friday evening) at Mestalla with Valencia, unbeaten at home all season, welcoming an Atletico team which has won just three times on the road in LaLiga this term. The two historical rivals are separated by just two points and three places in the race for the top four positions, while both also have big Champions League games coming next midweek.
Saturday’s early game is in the Balearic Islands where 18th placed RCD Mallorca will want another of their stirring home performances at Son Moix when they welcome D. Alaves, who have moved clear of the bottom three with a run of just one defeat in their last four LaLiga games.
Villarreal against Levante later on Saturday is a Valencia Community derby which has taken on an extra edge in recent seasons. Los Granotas (Levante) won the reverse fixture 2-1 back in August thanks to a double from local hero Roger, so the Yellow Submarine will be out for revenge this time out.
Granada against Real Valladolid on Saturday evening is a meeting of two teams who have recently come out of difficult runs of form – but know they need to keep accumulating points to maintain their currently useful gap to the teams below them.
Sevilla’s previously strong form has slipped in 2020 so the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan crowd will want a big performance on Sunday lunchtime as their team welcome an Espanyol side who are unbeaten in four Laliga games under new coach Abelardo Fernandez.
Leganes against Real Betis brings together two of LaLiga Santander’s most unpredictable teams. 19th placed Los Pepineros have won three of their last four at Butarque, while 13th placed Betis have just one win on the road all season.
Sunday’s Basque derby at Eibar should be extra special for Real Sociedad captain Mikel Oyarzabal, who was born close to the inland club’s tight Ipurua stadium and has two LaLiga goals against his hometown team.
Meanwhile, Athletic Bilbao’s Iñaki Williams will also recognise his surroundings at Osasuna later on Sunday, as Los Leones’ centre-forward grew up in Pamplona and has already scored two LaLiga goals against his hometown team.
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