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20.02.2010 17:41

Spanish League Preview Week 23

Last weekend’s results left Barca two points ahead of Real Madrid who host Villarreal on Sunday night. Seville moved fourth ahead of this Saturday’s big game at Mallorca, whilst third placed Valencia play at home to Getafe on Monday night.

Alongside Real Madrid, Seville were the only other team in the top eight to win last week and they occupy fourth spot on 39 points, with Mallorca on 37. Mallorca are still unbeaten at home, having won all 10 of their league games so far - a stark contrast to their poor away form that saw them go down against strugglers Tenerife and Jerez in their last two games away from the ONO Stadium. Seville’s cup run seemed to take its toll, but with a final place booked they will be looking for a first away win in four and the chance to test Mallorca’s home record against one of the big boys – Valencia, Barca and Real Madrid have all yet to visit the Island.

Fight on for UEFA spots

In Saturday’s opening game, Deportivo take on Jerez at the Riazor and boss Lotina knows his team need to take the chance for three points against the bottom club after a disappointing run that’s seen them take just 8 points in the 7 games since Christmas and drop out of the Champions League reckoning. Bilbao are hot on Deportivo’s heels and could overtake them if they beat Tenerife on Sunday. The Basques were held by Anderlecht midweek in the Europa League, but have won their last three league games at the San Mames and will fancy their chances against a Tenerife side who’ve picked up just 2 points on the road this season.

Madrid need to silence critics

After their defeat in Lyon on Tuesday, Real Madrid face Villarreal, who themselves drew 2-2 against Wolfsburg in the Europa Cup on Thursday, on Sunday. Pellegrini welcomes his ex-team to the Bernabeu in the midst of heavy criticism after Tuesday’s defeat and he knows his team need a convincing win to silence his critics. Drenthe is Madrid’s latest injury, joining Pepe, Guti and Meltzelder in the infirmary. Third place Valencia, who also lost in Europe this week and had French star Jeremy Mathieu ruled out for the rest of the season with a ligament injury, play Getafe on Monday and their 4 point lead over Seville is looking increasingly flimsy after being held by Sporting last week. With trips to the Vicente Calderon and Nou Camp on the horizon, Emery will be looking for a win against Michel’s Getafe, themselves aiming for a Uefa place and just three points behind Deportivo, to calm the nerves.

Osasuna on the up

Osasuna had eased relegation worries with a run of four wins before last week’s narrow defeat in Seville and they should get back to winning ways at the Reyno de Navarra on Sunday when they face second from bottom Valladolid, indeed a win could take them up to 8th and within striking distance of a European place. In Almeria, Ansejo returns in goal for Atletico Madrid after De Gea was injured in the midweek draw with Galatasarray. Quique Sanchez Flores will be looking to build on last week’s win over Barca to drag his irregular cup-finalists up the table, but Almeria are tough hosts and haven’t lost at home since November. In other games, two of the league’s in form teams –Espanyol and Malaga meet at La Roseleda, whilst Zaragoza entertain Sporting.
Spanish League Preview Week 23

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