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03.04.2010 13:04

Spanish League Preview Week 30


Real Madrid face a tricky looking trip to Racing on Sunday, while the chase for Champions League spots hots up with Seville and Valencia looking to have the best chance to steal a trick on the other aspirants.

Real Madrid kick off in Santander against Racing 24 hours after Barca and a win for Guardiola’s team would again ratchet up the pressure on Pellegrini’s men ahead of the big one next week. Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso are both missing after forcing yellow cards last week, but Karim Benzama is expected to be back in the squad for the trip.

With Bilbao facing a tough task at the Nou Camp, Valencia and Seville both look to have the easiest games in the chase for the third and fourth places. Valencia’s six point cushion over fourth placed Mallorca began to look a little less comfortable after last week’s thrashing in Zaragoza, but Emery will hope to get back on course when his team entertain Osasuna on Sunday. Given that the Pamplona team haven’t managed a single goal or a single point in their last five visits to La Mestalla, this looks like a home banker. Seville have a chance to redeem their miserable recent run – three points from the last 18 – when they take on relegation strugglers Tenerife at the Sanchez Pijuan.

Lillo magic serves Almeria well

Mallorca are still clinging onto fourth spot, two points ahead of Seville, but they will have to be at their best to take away anything from Almeria on Sunday. Juan Manuel Lillo has had an amazing effect on Almeria since he took over from Hugo Sanchez at Christmas, with the team losing just three games since then and taking 24 of their season’s total of 36 points so far and remaining unbeaten at home. Bizarrely enough, one of the other form teams since Christmas have been Jerez, whose unlikely Great Escape from the drop has seen them rise to, well bottom place, but just 7 points away from safety. Given that they’ve taken 11 points from their last six games, culminating in last week’s demolition of Valladolid, they will travel to Sporting on Sunday still hoping for the impossible and looking to upset Manolo Preciado’s mid table outfit.

Zaragoza eye safety

Zaragoza’a win against Valencia last week could prove to be a turning point in their fight to avoid relegation and at La Romareda on Saturday they have the chance to take another giant step when they take on Malaga, who are just two points ahead of them in the table. Second from bottom Valladolid are at home to Villarreal, who are pushing for a UEFA spot next season, whilst fellow aspirants Atletico Madrid and Deportivo meet at the Vicente Calderon, with the La Coru˝a team in freefall and Madrid with one eye on Europa and Spanish Cup possibilities. In the weekend’s other game, Espanyol travel to Getafe who after seeing off Deportivo last weekend, still harbour their own European ambitions.
Spanish League Preview Week 30

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