Madrid, Oct 29 (IANS) This weekend sees the 10th round of games in the La Liga with the Spanish football league beginning to have its familiar feel with Real, Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona occupying the first three places in the table.
The democracy of the opening weeks of the season with sides such as Celta Vigo and Villarreal battling for the top spot has ended as shown by Real’s 3-1 win against Vigo a week ago, reports Xinhua.
Atletico are the side to get this weekend under way when they play away against Deportivo la Coruna on Friday night. Atletico are gaining in confidence as their new signings such as Yannick Carrasco and Jackson Martinez adapt to the team, while Deportivo have slipped of late, taking just one point from their last two games.
Real are next to play, kicking off at home against struggling Las Palmas at what is becoming a suspiciously common 4 p.m. kick off time. While most sides find their kickoffs shunted around the weekend and around the clock, Real enjoy the luxury of playing their matches week in week out at the same time, with the subsequent advantage of helping the players’ body clock adapt.
In playing terms, Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos should be fit, while Luka Modric will also be able to play. The game at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is directly followed by the Valencia derby as Levante visit Mestalla stadium with both sides under immense pressure. Last week’s defeat to Atletico means the knives are again being sharpened for Valencia head coach Nuno Espiritu Santo, who must decide whether or not to recall the ostracised Alvaro Negredo, while Levante sacked Lucas Alcaraz as coach last weekend following a 0-4 defeat to Real Sociedad which saw them go bottom of the table.
Joan Francesc Ferrer, commonly known as ‘Rubi’ was named as Alcaraz’s successor and he has to lift the team for a vital match with more than local pride at stake. Villarreal entertain Sevilla for what promises to be an open and attacking game in the El Madrid Stadium before Barcelona visit Getafe. Barcelona are still looking way beyond par and Wednesday’s 0-0 King’s Cup draw away against third tier Villanovense only served to highlight the lack of depth in Luis Enrique’s squad.
They will be without the suspended midfielder Javier Mascherano and the injured Lionel Messi for the trip to the south of Madrid, but midfield talisman Andres Iniesta could provide a much-needed boost as he returns to first team action. Saturday ends with head coach David Moyes looking to see Real Sociedad take their first home win of the season as they entertain fourth placed Celta.
Sunday kicks off with the leagues two smallest clubs Eibar and Rayo Vallecano going head to head in what promises to be a feisty match, while Granada coach Jose Ramon Sandoval is another coach whose job could be on the line should his side lose to Espanyol. Sporting Gijon need to pick up the pace at home against an improving Malaga, while Athletic Club Bilbao aim to maintain their improved form away against Real Betis.