Madrid derby heads gameweek three in La Liga

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The international break halted Liga season just as it threatened to burst into action. For some, the break was an unwanted delay, halting any momentum while for others it was an opportune moment to re-evaluate, reconsider and rework their tactics in the hope of better performances later in the season.

Ancelotti is likely to be one such manager who was not resting on his laurels during the past week. An embarrassing defeat to Real Sociedad had many questioning the decision to let key player leave during the summer. Changes were needed after such a poor showing, and Madrid certainly have a point to prove.

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Madrid Derby

And there is no worthier an opponent to show their pedigree than this week’s opponent’s Atletico Madrid, in a derby which has rivalled El Clasico in importance in recent seasons.

Diego Simeone’s side have already gotten one over on their cross-city rivals piping them to the Spanish Supercup on the eve of the season.

But neither side have looked convincing in their opening two La Liga fixtures. Real lost 4-2 to Sociedad after going 2-0 up after 10 minutes, while Atletico scraped through against Eibar.

Home advantage should give Real the upper hand, and with Cristiano Ronaldo fully rested after skipping international duty with Portugal, Madrid are in the driving seat.

However such assumptions have been made in the past and it would be foolish to rule out Atletico Madrid altogether. They are yet to hit to form, but a repeat of their exploits in the Supercup could see them emerge victorious.

Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao

Just two matches into the league season, and Barcelona are the only side with a 100percent record. However they were made to work hard for last week’s 1-0 win against Villarreal, and their resolve will again be tested, this week by Athletic Bilbao.

Both sides begin their Champions League campaigns in midweek, with Barcelona hosting relative minnows Apoel Nicosia, and Athletic Bilbao play stalwarts Shakhtar Donetsk. In what is a winnable group for Ernesto Valverde’s side and a winnable match, the 50-year-old must decide whether to sacrifice league form for European progress.

Athletic can always pose a threat, but given these commitments, Athletic may opt to field a weakened side, with defeat the likely outcome, regardless of the strength of team they field.

Almeria 1 – 1 Cordoba

It was a result that favoured neither, but both were forced to settle for. Mendez Ortega fired the hosts in front, but it only took seven minutes for Cordoba to find an equaliser through Cartabia.

It was certainly a scrappy affair, with eight yellow cards, and there were chances aplenty for both sides, with Tomer Hemed passing up a few good opportunities to win the match for Almeria. The result means they occupy 15th and 16th in the table, with both yet to win in three attempts.

Granada vs Villarreal

Granada have made a decent start to the season against relatively weak opposition in Elche and Deportivo, but will face their first big test in the form of Villarreal. However their job will be made easier by the absences of Giovani dos Santos and Jaume Costa, with the former set to be out for at least a month with a torn hamstring.

Regardless, Villarreal are more than capable of giving anyone a game, and their performance against Barcelona a fortnight ago is testament to this.

Celta de Vigo vs Real Sociedad

Celta have also enjoyed a positive start, currently occupying third spot in La Liga. Whether it will last is another question, but they have a perfectly good chance of doing so against an indifferent Real Sociedad side.

The Basque side exploded into life against Real Madrid after a poor start against newcomers Eibar. Which Sociedad will turn up is questionable, and but if they aren’t at their best, they could be picked off by Eduardo Berizzo’s men.


Almeria 1 – 1 Cordoba


Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao
Malaga vs Levante
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid
Celta de Vigo vs Real Sociedad


Rayo Vallecano vs Elche
Valencia vs Espanyol
Sevilla vs Getafe
Granada CF vs Villarreal


Eibar vs Deportivo de La Coruna

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