Madrid, Oct 22 (IANS) Fireworks are expected at the La Liga this weekend when league leaders Real Madrid travel to Vigo to take on this season’s revelation Celta on Saturday afternoon. Both sides are tied along with FC Barcelona on 18 points and Celta will receive Rafael Benitez’s side in a ground where they have already put four goals past the Catalan giants this season, reports Xinhua. Morale is sky high in Celta after a last minute win away against Villarreal on Sunday and they have had all week to prepare for the match whereas Real had a tough European Champions League game in Paris on Wednesday. Real also have injury doubts over Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Dani Carvajal and James Rodriguez, while Sergio Ramos’ shoulder is still giving him problems, limiting Benitez’s options in attack.
Saturday also sees a local derby as struggling Granada entertain Real Betis, who have won their last two away games, but who were surprisingly beaten by Espanyol at home last weekend. Sevilla, who performed exceptionally away against Manchester City on Wednesday, only to lose to a cruel last-minute goal, continue a league campaign, which has seen them take seven points from their last three games, at home against a Getafe side which looks greatly improved under the stewardship of former Elche boss Fran Escriba and which hammered Las Palmas 4-0 a week ago.
Saturday ends with a game between Malaga and Deportivo la Coruna, two sides who are becoming accustomed to the late kick-off slot, which may be good for TV audiences but does few favours to supporters who actually want to watch their football in the ground. The visit of tiny Eibar to the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona is perhaps the highlight of Sunday’s matches. But Barcelona will know that against a side which despite the smallest budget in La Liga, they will not be able to produce the kind of anarchic display that saw them beat Rayo Vallecano 5-2 last weekend.
Eibar will not open up to offer the kind of space Rayo did and Neymar, Luis Suarez and co. will have to work much harder to unlock their defense. Barcelona are still without Lionel Messi and Rafinha (knee) while Sergi Roberto will also be sidelined for around a fortnight after aggravating a pelvic injury on Tuesday. Head coach David Moyes is under extreme pressure as Real Sociedad visit struggling Levante. Both sides have only one win this season and defeat in the Ciudad de Valencia Stadium could mean the end for the former Manchester United tactician’s brief tenure in San Sebastian. ‘La Real’ travel without suspended duo, Jonathas and Ruben Reyes. New Las Palmas coach, Quique Setien makes his debut at the club following the surprise sacking of Paco Herrera last Monday.
Setien has never coached in the La Liga and it won’t be easy against high-flying Villarreal, who may suffer after playing the Europa League on Thursday. Athletic Club Bilbao are also in Thursday night action but will look to their home game against Sporting Gijon to start catapulting them up the table. Keep and eye on the attacking trio of Inaki Williams, Raul Garcia and Aritz Aduriz.