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27.02.2010 11:34

Spanish League Preview Week 24

Nick Bedson

This weekend’s game see Madrid return to the home of their 1990s nightmares and a classic La Liga clash between Atletico Madrid and Valencia as highlights of week 24 of the campaign

Fear and Loathing in Tenerife

The Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez in Tenerife remains a haunted place of fear for Real Madrid fans, whose team managed to throw away two league titles on the last day of the season at the ground in the early 1990s. On Saturday, Madrid return to the island knowing that only a win will be enough to keep them in touch with the leaders, who kick off 2 hours later at the Nou Camp. Tenerife are second bottom in the league, but they have taken 18 of their 20 points at home and beat Mallorca in their last home match and Pellegrini, who is without the injured Benzama and Guti, warned his players: “it would be a big mistake to think we’ll go there and get a hatful of goals – they made life difficult for Barca, Seville and Valencia and they play good football”.

Clash of Europa Cup challengers

Third place Valencia visit Atletico Madrid on Sunday after both teams got morale boosting European wins in midweek, though Valencia defender Marchena warned that after a full 120 minutes against Bruges on Thursday: “we’ll be going to Madrid with more morale than rested legs! This kind of game always takes it out of you and the players will notice the tiredness”. Seville have hauled themselves back into the top four and if they can overcome Bilbao in a game which kicks off a couple of hours before the Atletico-Valencia game, they’ll be just a point off third place. Seville come into the match on the back of a valuable 1-1 draw in Moscow, whilst Bilbao suffered a 4-0 pasting against Anderlecht and although the Basques are challenging for a European place, their away form has been poor of late, having taken just a single point from their last five games on the road, losing at Villarreal, Espanyol, Deportivo and Mallorca, whilst Seville have beaten Osasuna, Valencia and Almeria in the last three league games at the Sanchez Pijuan.

Tricky for Mallorca and Deportivo

Deportivo and Mallorca are sandwiched between Bilbao and Seville and both face potentially tricky games: the Galicians travelling to Villarreal and Mallorca, with their terrible away record, visiting struggling Valladolid. Zaragoza, with just one away win, open the weekend’s action on Saturday with a visit to Getafe who have not won in their last four and are in need of points to maintain their challenge for a European spot next season. Osasuna and Sporting, who meet in Gijon on Sunday, are two teams on the edge of the fight for a UEFA berth, though perhaps more realistically, they will be happy to keep clear of the relegation fight. Racing (25 points) and Almeria(26) are just below Sporting and a few points clear of the drop zone, and they meet in Santander, whilst Espanyol, level on points with Almeria, have the chance to scramble clear when they visit Jerez.
Spanish League Preview Week 24

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