LaLiga Matchday 23 Preview: All eyes on the Basque Country as season hots up at both ends of the table
LaLiga is big in the Basque country this weekend with leaders Real Madrid travelling to Osasuna and two sizzling derbies between the region’s other four top-flight teams, while elsewhere Barcelona coach Quique Setien is back at his former club Real Betis.
Real Madrid go to Pamplona-based Osasuna, with Zinedine Zidane’s side flying high after last week’s derby win in the Spanish capital maintained their three-point lead in LaLiga Santander. But Osasuna will not lack for confidence having lost just twice at El Sadar all season, and with Real Madrid’s last five visits having brought a draw and two wins apiece.
Real Sociedad against Athletic Club in Basque football’s highest-profile derby clash. The San Sebastian based txuri-urdin have beaten their historic rivals at the Reale Arena for two years straight, but Los Leones won the reverse game 2-0 in Bilbao in September.
The local rivalry will be just as fierce when the weekend action starts with another derby in the Basque capital Vitoria as D. Alaves host SD Eibar, who have won two and drawn two of their last four games at the historic Mendizorrotza home of their near neighbours.
Third-placed Getafe CF at home to fifth-placed Valencia CF on promises fireworks as tension built between these two teams during four meetings last season and exploded with a 3-3 draw in their most recent clash at Mestalla earlier this term.
Mid-table Levante UD looking to end a run of four straight LaLiga defeats at home to relegation battlers CD Leganes, who got a huge boost last weekend with Oscar Rodriguez’s last-minute free-kick winner against Real Sociedad.
Real Valladolid were also lifted last weekend by a win at fellow strugglers Mallorca and now face another test against a Villarreal CF team who top LaLiga’s current form table thanks to five wins in their last six games.
Atletico de Madrid’s form is not so hot with zero goals and one point from their last three LaLiga outings, so Diego Simeone’s team will be eager to get back on track when they travel south to face a Granada CF team who average an impressive two points per game at their Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium this season.
The match starts with a real relegation six-pointer as bottom side RCD Espanyol aim to finally get their first home LaLiga win of 2019/20 against an RCD Mallorca team with just one point from 10 road games so far.
19th placed RC Celta will aim for their first LaLiga victory of 2020 at Abanca Balaidos against a Sevilla FC side with just one win from their four games since returning from the winter break.
Published 07 Feb 2020, 19:30 IST