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21.11.2008 17:48

Big head-to-head clashes ahead

Marc Guillén

Before the Christmas break, there are five days of football in which all of the top teams will be going at it face to face, and the shape of the Spanish Liga could change completely.

The 2008/09 championship has started with five teams edging ahead of the rest of the pack: Barça, Vila-real, Valencia, Real Madrid and Sevilla, in that order. Over the next five weeks, many of those teams will be meeting each other, and we could either see teams extending their leads or dropping away from the leading group.

Barça have all four in a row

QM3D1547.jpgAfter playing Getafe on Sunday, FC Barcelona have back to back games against their four main pursuers. Next up are Sevilla, then its home to Valencia, a week later Real Madrid at home and before Christmas they still have to tackle Vila-real.

Josep Guardiola knows they need to make sure of the three points against Getafe and have something of a safety net as they go into the toughest part of their league schedule yet. A margin for error will be comforting, yet even if Barça won all of their next games it will still be too early to celebrate anything with half the league programme still to go.

Sevilla first

knt2.jpgThe first of the big guns to face the league leaders will be Sevilla. Manolo Jiménez’s side will first receive Valencia this Saturday at 22.00 and after that they too play the big teams in Barça, Madrid and Vila-real, in that order.

Valencia, bit by bit

Mata.jpgValencia follow their game with Sevilla with a game against Betis, and after that they’ve got Barça. Valencia then get to ‘rest’ for a week against Espanyol before facing Vila-real. Valencia will end their run of games against fellow leaders on the weekend of January 10 and 11, 2009.

Real Madrid, with Christmas in between

Real Madrid also have four games in a row against their fellow leaders, but have the Christmas break in between. In two weekends time they have Sevilla, in three weeks time it’s Barça and in four its Valencia. They then have a fortnight off for Christmas, and return to their difficult string of matches by entertaining Vila-real.

Finally, Vila-real

Pellegrini’s side will be the last of the sides to take on a run of games against the other top teams. By Christmas, Vila-real will have only played Sevilla and Barça.
Big head-to-head clashes ahead
The fixture list
Week 12 (23/11/08)
FC Barcelona – Getafe
R.Madrid – Recreativo
Sevilla – València
Vila-real – Valladolid

Week 13 (30/11/08)
Sevilla – FC Barcelona
València – Betis
Getafe – R.Madrid
Recreativo – Vila-real

Week 14 (07/12/08)
FC Barcelona – València
R.Madrid – Sevilla
Vila-real – Getafe

Week 15 (14/12/08)
FC Barcelona-R.Madrid
València – Espanyol

Week 16 (21/12/08)
R.Madrid – València
Vila-real – FC Barcelona
Mallorca – Sevilla

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