Spanish League Preview Week 30
With Barça kicking off at third place Villarreal at 10 on Saturday night, Real Madrid have the chance to put some pressure on when they entertain Sporting at the Bernabeu at 6 and Valencia could overtake Villarreal if they can win at Getafe.
Whilst the top four are all in action on Saturday, Sunday and Monday see some big games at the
bottom and in the chase for URFA spots. In the relegation battle the increasingly doomed looking
Hercules are away at Real Sociedad, Malaga are at in-form Levant, Deportivo could slip into the
bottom three if they lose against Mallorca at Riazor, Zaragoza face a tough trip to Seville and
Almeria are at home to Bilbao on Monday. Meanwhile, fifth place Espanyol entertain Racing and
Atletico Madrid will be just a point above Osasuna if the Basques can beat them in Pamplona on
Injuries hit Madrid
Real Madrid face a tough week with their Champions League quarter final against
Spurs and a tricky league trip to Bilbao next week, but they kick off with what looks to be an
easier game against struggling Sporting, who have managed just one win on the road all season.
Mourinho will be without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo ,Benzema and Marcello on Saturday and
possibly in midweek, whilst Kaka is still out and Xabi Alonso is suspended, but Madrid will welcome
back Higuain, who has been out for four months. Valencia are tied on points with Villarreal and
will look to take advantage of a Barça win, but they are without keeper Guaita, Joaquim, Albelda
and David Navarro who are all injured. For their part, Getafe need a win after a dismal run of form
has seen them win just one game in their last 13 and slip to 13th, just five points clear of the
Espanyol limp on
Fifth placed Espanyol are a distant 11 points adrift of Valencia and with Bilbao and Seville
just a point behind them, they need a win at home to Racing on Sunday, but once again injuries are
undermining Pochettino’s efforts, with Baena and Amat the latest to visit the treatment room.
Bilbao are away to second from bottom Almeria on Monday night and if the points are vital for the
strugglers, Basque midfielder Carlos Gurpegui reckons: “they are even more important for us
–they are playing to stay in the division, but we are after a European spot”. Seville,
behind Bilbao only on goal difference, are also up against a team fighting the drop, Zaragoza
–who have lost their last two away games at Barcelona and Mallorca and have to visit
Villarreal and Real Madrid in their next two matches on the road after their visit to Andalucia and
are just a point off the bottom three.
Tough trip for Atletico
Atletico Madrid are three points behind Seville and face a tough trip to Pamplona without
their star striker Kun Aguero. Such has been Osasuna’s recovery since they switched coaches
earlier this year, that a win would take them to just a point behind Atletico. The other in-form
team in the bottom half, Llevant, who are level on points with Osasuna and their Basque neighbours
Real Sociedad, play at home to Malaga. Malaga have won their last two games and if they can win on
Sunday, they could lift themselves to temporary safety. Whilst Real’s opponents Hercules will
hope new boss Miroslav Djukic can halt the slide that has seen them lose 10 out of their last 13
games to send them to the foot of the table, though he will start his job without striker David
Trezeguet who has a knee injury. Finally, Mallorca could slip into the bottom half if they lose at
Riazor, where Deportivo, who are in 16th and just two points ahead of Malaga, have lost just once
in their last five home games.