Spanish Leaguer Preview Week 8
Real Madrid come up against their old boss Pellegrini on Saturday evening, whilst Llevant are away to Villarreal on Sunday night, when Valencia also face Bilbao. At the bottom, Sporting host 18th placed Granada, whilst Racing are at home to Espanyol.
It’s third versus sixth at the La Rosaleda on Saturday night, when Malaga host Madrid with
boss Manuel Pellegrini and Dutch veteran Ruud van Nistelroy both up against their old employers,
though Julio Baptista will miss his chance to get one back on his ex-team as he is still out
injured. Madrid will be without Coentrao and Mourinho will have to choose between his leading
scorer Higuain and Karim Benzema who started and impressed midweek against Lyon.
Sporting and Racing after first wins
With Llevant not playing till Sunday and Barça kicking off at 22.00, Madrid could go top for
a couple of hours if they can overcome Malaga, whilst Saturday’s two other games involving
the bottom three. Sporting are still after a win and face Granada in Gijon in a clash between the
league’s two lowest scoring sides, whilst Racing are also without a win – though they
have four points from their four drawn games and they will be hoping Espanyol’s poor away
record continues when Pochettino’s side come to Santander.
Champions League hangovers?
Llevant are away to Villarreal, who will need to bounce back from their disappointment
against Man City on Tuesday if they are to get a result against the league’s best defence.
Villarreal have won one and drawn two at home so far this season, whilst Llevant have beaten both
Rayo and Betis away and drawn at Racing. Fifth placed Valencia were also beaten in their midweek
Champions League game and they will face a tough test against an improving Atletico Bilbao who will
look to Llorente to take advantage of the absence of Valencia centre half Adi Rami who is
Noon kick off for Betis agian
Betis again kick off at noon on Sunday and after a poor run of three defeats they will be
looking to get back to winning ways against Rayo. Atletico Madrid will pounce on any Betis slip up
if they can overcome their goal drought – three games without scoring –though they may
be without Falcao who is doubtful with a neck injury against Mallorca at the Vicente Calderon.
Zaragoza are level on 9 points with Atletico, but they face a tough trip to Pamplona, where Osasuna
are still unbeaten this season.