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16.01.2010 20:57

Spanish League Preview Week 18

There’s a host of interesting fixtures in the Spanish League this weekend, with Madrid looking to go top before Barca’s game, two of the challengers for the fourth Champions League spot meeting in Mallorca and the bottom two set to play in Jerez.

Real Madrid have yet another chance to go momentarily ahead of Barca if they can overcome Bilbao at San Mames in their 20.00 kick off. Pellegrini will be without the injured Van der Vart and Higuain for the game in which Bilbao will be looking to chalk up their first win of the year after a defeat in Mallorca and a draw at Malaga. Third placed Valencia host Villarreal, who’ve drawn their last two games, and boss Unai Emery knows that he has to improve his team’s effectiveness at home if he is to mount a serious challenge to the big two. Valencia have so far lost just once at home in the league this season, but have been held to a draw four times and chalked up just 13 points at the Mestalla, compared with the 22 points (7 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat) which have made them the best away team in the competition.

Mallorca and Deportivo look to take advantage

With Seville facing a tough task at the Nou Camp, Mallorca and Deportivo will both want to take advantage when they meet at the ONO Stadium. Both teams are through to the Cup quarter finals after tough midweek games and Mallorca will be without Victor who was injured in the game against Rayo, as well as Webo away at the African Nations Cup. Deportivo are on 31 points, whilst Mallorca, with eight home ins out of eight this season, are level with Seville on 30. On 27, Getafe have their chance to join the party if they can beat Malaga in La Rosaleda and given that they thrashed them 5-1 in the Cup on Wednesday they might be thought favourites, but Malaga did win the first leg 2-1 and are actually unbeaten in their last 8 league games – though they have drawn 7 of them!

Basement battle in Jerez

Down at the bottom, Jerez host Zaragoza in a must win game for both teams. Jerez are bottom with just 7 points, have just sacked their boss Ziganda and have no money for signings, whilst Zaragoza’s latest boss Gay has been able to make three winter signings, the most recent of which was the Czech Jiro Jarosik. Two more strugglers, Almeria and Tenerife meet on Sunday and Almeria’s boss Lillo will be looking to extend his unbeaten record in charge since he joined before Christmas. In other games, Espanyol visit Pamplona to take on Osasuna on Saturday and Atletico Madrid, who won 5-1 in midweek against Huelva to make the Cup quarter finals, are at home to Sporting, whilst Racing, who also made it through to the next round of the Cup, are at home to Valladolid.
Spanish League Preview Week 18

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