Barcelona will be back in the Camp Nou to welcome the Basques, Real Sociedad. While, rivals Real Madrid will be on the road in Aragon when they take on Real Zaragoza. Espanyol’s trip to the Basque country sees them taking on a tough Athletic Bilbao in San Mames which has all the makings to be a very entertaining game.
Real Zaragoza vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid are back on the road and will be hoping to take all three points from their encounter with the blanquillos. Real Zaragoza have had a poor start to their season and have only won one game at home since the season kicked off. And, to heap further distress onto Zaragoza, they have not beaten Real Madrid in league since November 2001 when they secured a 2-1 victory. Real Madrid have the 2nd best away record in league this season, while their opponents are the 2nd worst home team with a total of 5 points collected from their 7 home games. However, the blanquillos will be hoping that they can cause an upset and take the scalps of their opponents but it will be a hard ask considering the visitors are picking up the pieces since their defeat at the hands of Barcelona and got their foot back on the track with their win over Valencia last weekend. The visitors continue to be without Higuaín, Kaká, Canales and Gago. However, Dudek is now added to that lengthy injury list after picking up a fracture to his mandible in Wednesday’s Champions League game against Auxerre. Additionally, Khedira is suspended for the trip to Zaragoza. The home team will be without Obradović, Sinama-Pongolle, Uche and Laguardia.
Valencia vs Osasuna
Valencia are back in Mestalla and will welcome Osasuna this weekend with the hope of picking up a victory after their loss at the Bernabéu last Saturday. Their opponents on the other hand are coming off a loss to leaders Barcelona and will be hoping to pick up the pieces by securing atleast a point in the Mestalla. Valencia’s home record have been impressive this season and have only lost one game there thus far. Osasuna have been bad travellers this season and are yet to pick up maximum points on the road. They [Osasuna] have now lost 6 of their 7 away games, conceding 12 goals and scoring 1. Coupled with their current road form, Osasuna’s trip to Valencia is likely to be a sour one as they have not won a match in the Mestalla since 2004 when they earned a 1-0 victory by way of a Pellegrino own goal. A 3rd consecutive loss for the visitors will see them plummet further down the table into 17th. Valencia will continue to miss Mathieu, Moyá, Navarro, Fernandes, Topal and Cesár because of injury while both Albelda and Tino Costa will miss the game because of suspensions. Aranda, Damia and Ruper are all out for the visiting team.
Barcelona vs Real Sociedad
After their late arrival in Pamplona last weekend due to the air strike in Spain, Barcelona are back in the Camp Nou and will welcome Real Sociedad. The newly promoted team find themselves in 6th place and will prove a tough test for the blaugrana. However, Barcelona’s home record says it all, having won 5 of their 7 games at the Camp Nou this season. Also, the visitors are the 6th best away team picking up only 2 wins and a draw from their last 7 road games. Additionally, Real Sociedad have not won a game in the Camp Nou since 1991. A win for the Basque team will ensure that they remain in the hunt for a European cup spot. Milito is Barcelona’s only casualty. While, Tamudo, Sutil and Ifrán are doubtful for the trip to Barcelona.
Athletic Bilbao vs Espanyol
Bilbao are back in the Cathedral and will play host to Espanyol. The home team along with young center back San José will be looking to put their derby loss behind them and pick up maximum points against the Catalans. Bilbao has been solid in San Mames and have only lost to both Barcelona and Atlético Madrid there. Their opponents on the other hand have been fairly bad travellers this season but are beginning to turn their fortunes around on the road. Espanyol’s visits to San Mames have not always been happy trips, not beating los leones since April 2001 and have only picked up 5 points from their last 10 visits against the hosts in San Mames. The home team will miss Ustaritz, I. Martínez, I. Gómez, Aitor Ocio and Ramalho are expected to miss the encounter. While, Espanyol will be without Baena and Márquez through suspensions. Javi López, Coro, Galán, de la Peña and Mattioni are all out injured.
Sporting Gijón vs Levante
Sporting Gijón are currently on a four game losing streak and are in need of a win if they are to climb out of the drop zone. The visitors on the other hand are coming off a big win over Atlético Madrid and want to continue picking up points to distance themselves from the drop zone. A loss for the home team coupled with wins by Almería and Zaragoza could see them plummet to the bottom of the table. To further add to the misery of the hosts, their last two meetings against Levante have ended in defeat. Bilić, Cuéllar, D. Castro and Landeira are out for the hosts. While, Levante’s Sergio, Xisco, del Horno, Miguel Pérez, Iborra, Nacho and Héctor Rodas are all injured.
Atlético Madrid vs Deportivo la Coruña
A resurgent Deportivo travels to the Capital City to take on the colchoneros. Atlético are coming off their second consecutive loss to Levante and will need to pick up three points if they want to pick up their season and climb back into a Europa League spot. Deportivo have never done well against the colchoneros in Madrid and haven’t picked up a single point in their last 6 league meetings. In Addition, they have not won in the Vicente Calderón since 1999. Assunção and Asenjo are out injured for the home team while their opponents are missing Riki, Zé Castro, Juca, Morel, Míchel and Guardado.
Hércules vs Málaga
Málaga are back on the road and will visit the José Rico Pérez to take on Hércules in what should be a good game between two talented sides. The home team’s last match ended in a loss on the road to Deportivo while their opponents thumped Racing into the ground at La Rosaleda. The last visit to Alicante for Málaga ended in a 1-1 draw and they will be hoping that they can pick up atleast a point this weekend. Sendoa, Farinós, Fritzler and Rufete are out for the home team while the visitors will continue to miss Galatto, Apoño, Luque and Hélder Rosário.
Mallorca vs Racing Santander
Racing will remain on the road this weekend and travel to Palma de Mallorca. Racing’s away record is horrible and they are the worst road team this season picking up only a point on their travels, conceding 18 goals and scoring 4. The hosts are the 8th best league team this season and have won 4 games and drawn 2 on home turf, losing only to Espanyol. Mallorca’s Ayoze, Enrich, Tejera and Tuni are injured while Rubén is suspended. Racing on the other hand is still without the services of Arana, Tziolis and Serrano.
Getafe vs Villarreal
Getafe will welcome an in form Villarreal side to the Coliseum Saturday evening. Getafe are coming off a 3-0 win over Mallorca and are hoping to repeat the feat against the in form yellow submarine. Both teams have done fairly well at home and away respectively, with Getafe picking up 4 wins and a draw from their 7 home games while, Villarreal have taken 11 of 21 points from their 7 road games. Villarreal’s last trip to the Coliseum ended in a 3-0 rout. However, the last 4 games in Madrid between the two teams have been split evenly with both teams winning 2 games each. Getafe’s Boateng is suspended for the encounter and Borja, Arizmendi and Mario are out with injury. Villarreal’s only concern is the suspension of Rossi.
Sevilla vs Almería
A desperate Sevilla team will welcome 19th place Almería to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in hopes to put a halt to their 3 game losing streak. Despite being under new management, Almería are yet to pick up a victory and are struggling immensely. This is a game Sevilla should and ought to be winning and considering that they have won their last 2 home games against the visitors. Fabiano, Guarente, Varas, Navas, Koné, Sánchez, Dragutinović and Fazio are out for the home team. Almería on the other hand is missing Míchel, Marcelo Silva, Bernardello, Pellerano and Nieto.
Top matches of the weekend
- Barcelona vs Real Sociedad: Despite having a poor record in the Camp Nou, Sociedad are a strong team this season and will be giving Barcelona all they can handle.
- Getafe vs Villarreal: This is a game known for goals in the past couple seasons and should be entertaining.
- Athletic Bilbao vs Espanyol: A great match on hand between two of the toughest teams in league this season as well Espanyol is beginning to turn around their away form.
- Real Zaragoza vs Real Madrid: The away team are keen on three points as is the hosts. The past 6 meetings between the two at La Romareda have been close encounters and despite the poor season Zaragoza is having they will try their best to give the visitors a tough game.