Madrid, Nov 5 (IANS) The biggest sides in La Liga don’t play their respective games until Sunday, but there is plenty to keep football fans in Spain interested. The 11th round of games starts on Friday as Las Palmas, who last week lost 1-3 away to Real Madrid, entertain Real Sociedad, whose head coach David Moyes is under increasing pressure after his side’s home defeat to Celta Vigo last week, reports Xinhua.
A defeat against Las Palmas could spell the end for the former Manchester United coach, although the Scot will take comfort from the fact that his side has performed better on road this season than at home. Valencia’s Nuno Espiritu Santo is another coach under pressure and he won’t be pleased that his side has to visit in-form Vigo on Saturday afternoon after having played European Champions League on Wednesday.
The defeat to Gent saw Valencia fans ask for Nuno to be sacked and a heavy defeat on Saturday could mean the game in Vigo is his last in charge. Bottom placed Levante entertain Deportivo la Coruna while both Rayo Vallecano and Granada need points and Eibar look to continue their fine start to the season at home to Getafe. Saturday ends with an Andalusian derby as Malaga, who seem to be finding their feet, entertain a Real Betis side that is performing better away than at home.
Athletic Club Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde on Wednesday expressed surprise that his side has been given the mid-day kick off on Sunday after playing Europa League on Thursday night. That means Athletic have been given the shortest possible time allowed to prepare their game against Espanyol, who will be looking to impress their new Chinese owners.
That is followed by arguably the three biggest games of the weekend as Barcelona, who will be without midfielders Javier Mascherano, Rafinha and Ivan Rakitic and star striker Lionel Messi entertain a free-flowing Villarreal side who could pose a real threat at the Camp Nou Stadium. Not for nothing did Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique decide to rest Gerard Pique for Wednesday’s Champions League win over BATE Borisov.
Atletico Madrid are next into action and coach Diego Simeone will be looking for an upturn in form on the back of two draws as his side entertains Sporting Gijon, who have proved on the whole to be a solid well drilled side since returning to the top flight. Finally Real Madrid, who have had longer to recover than any other side in European action this week, face a possible banana skin away to Sevilla.
Sevilla lost to Manchester City in midweek, but have beaten Barcelona in front of their home supporters and it will be interesting to see which version of Unai Emery’s side turns up against a Madrid team that is without defender Marcelo through injury, but which will welcome forward James Rodriguez and winger Gareth Bale back following a long injury lay-off.