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28.11.2009 19:38

Spanish League Preview, Week 12


Whist all the attention in La Liga is focussed on the Barca-Madrid game, Seville and Valencia will both be looking to close the gap on the top two, whilst at the other end of the table, Atletico Madrid will hope to kick start their miserable season.

Valencia and Seville look to close the gap

Valencia, on 24 and Seville on 25 points both play on Saturday night and wins could put them right up with Barca and Madrid at the top, confirming their candidacies to challenge for the title. Valencia are at home to Mallorca, whose captain José Carlos Araujo Nunes reckons the game is: “important and very tough at a difficult ground, but we are going there to take the three points”. Strong words indeed given that Mallorca have yet to win on the road and Valencia are unbeaten at the Mestalla this season. Also unbeaten at home, Seville play at 22.00 against bottom side Malaga, who may be boosted by their record at the Sanchez Pijuan, where they have won five and lost just one of the last 8 meetings between the two Andalucian rivals.

Villarreal out to confirm improvement

Saturday's other game sees the resurgent Villarreal visit Sporting, who will have Diego Castro back from injury, whilst the visitors will hope to improve on their poor away form that's seen them take just 1 point on the road so far this season. On Sunday, Deportivo are away to Racing and if Valencia slip up, a win would see them back in the top four ahead of next week's visit from Barca.

Atletico need to start winning

Last week's defeat against Deportivo was Atletico Madrid's sixth of the season and with just one win and a miserable performance in the Champions League group stage, they really need to get their season started. Their loyal fans will again be hoping for Ku, Forlan, Maxi and co to live up to their “big team” billing and put in a performance against Espanyol on Sunday night. As Forlan himself puts it: “right now we aren't talking about relegation, but we know we are in the bottom three and we have to turn the situation around and start winning or things could get really complicated”. Espanyol travel without De la Peña and Marques to a ground where they have only lost twice in their last 10 visits to the Vicente Calderon.

In the weekend's other games, Getafe are at home to Jerez, Bilbao are at Almeria, Tenerife and Valladolid are involved in a six-pointer at the Jose Zorrilla and Osasuna travel south to Zaragoza, whose defender Raul Goni explained: “for those of us who are from Zaragoza and have followed the team since we were kids, this is a local derby – these games against Osasuna are special for us”.
Spanish League Preview, Week 12

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