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27.03.2010 11:07

Spanish League Preview Week 29

Nick Bedson

The Spanish League teams face their third game in a week this weekend and with just 9 games to go after this round, things are hotting up in the chase for European places at the top and to avoid the drop at the other end.

After their 2-4 win over Getafe on Thursday, Real Madrid kept up the pressure at the top, but with Barca playing first this weekend, the onus will again likely be on Pellegrini’s team to take three points from the Madrid derby against Atletico on Sunday. Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso warned his teammates: “ a derby is always a special game and Atletico come into this on the back of some great results in Europe and in the league”. Atletico could be without Tiago and Raul Garcia and after their 2-0 win over Bilbao in midweek are now 8th in the league, having lost just two of their last 11 games.

Villa out

Valencia are a distant third – 18 points adrift of Barca and Madrid, but the six points they took from their home wins against Almeria and Malaga this week have put them eight points clear of fifth place Seville and a Champions League spot seems pretty safe. Emery will have to travel to Zaragoza on Saturday without leading scorer David Villa, who spent Wednesday night in hospital after a bang to the head after scoring again during the win over Malaga. Zaragoza’s efforts to claw their way out of the relegation battle were dented by their two defeats this week – against Barca and Almeria- and they are now just two points above third from bottom Valladolid ahead of a game their boss Jose Aurelio Gay reckons: “is like a Champions League Final for us”.

Alvarez steps in at Seville

Despite being held to a goalless draw in Santander on Wednesday, Mallorca have put some space between themselves and the troubled Seville, who are two points adrift, with Bilbao a further three behind. Seville appointed one of their back room staff, Antonio Alvarez, to take over after sacking Manolo Jimenez on Tuesday night. Seville haven’t won in the league since beating Mallorca 1-3 six games ago and Alvarez faces a tough baptism when he takes his team to Villarreal on Sunday.

Basement battle

Valladolid are at Jerez on Sunday, with Tenerife, level on points with Onesima’s team, travelling to Malaga on Saturday. Jerez have won three and drawn two of their last five in an unlikely fight to retain their status in the top flight, though they are still seven points away from safety and five behind Tenerife and Valladolid. Malaga themselves are on 30 points, four ahead of Zaragoza, having won just one from their last five games. Racing and Osasuna are just a point ahead of Malaga, with the Santander team, unbeaten in their last four games, travelling to Bilbao on Monday, whilst Osasuna, without a win in their last seven, must get a result against Almeria in Pamplona on Sunday if they are to avoid being dragged into the relegation dog fight. The two teams above Osasuna, Espanyol and Sporting meet in Cornella on Sunday where Pochettino’s team are unbeaten since the beginning of December.
Spanish League Preview Week 29

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