Battling for the distinction of match of the weekend are the two Madrid sides, as Atletico face the inform Valencia in Saturday’s early fixture, while Real face a visit from Athletic Bilbao.
Valencia vs Atletico Madrid
Valencia against Atletico Madrid is arguably the biggest, with the two sides occupying 2nd and 3rd respectively. Both sit on 14 points.
Madrid have relied on set-pieces and narrow wins thus far, while have thoroughly dispatched the majority of those they come across, with the leagues 3rd most prolific attack and 2nd best defence.
Los Che have had a week to prepare for the fixture, while Diego Simeone’s side toiled for 90 minutes against Juventus for an important Champions League win.
Fitness, as well as home advantage should put Nuno Espirito Santo’s team in the driving seat, and put a marginal difference between the two sides on the day.
Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao
Historically, Real have had little to fear from Athletic, having won the last eight home matches against the Basque side. There is little evidence to suggest that Sunday’s encounter will be any different.
Bilbao have been in dire form this season, winning only one match in their last eight, which came at home to bottom dwellers Levante on the second week of the season.
Conversely, while Real have had hiccups of their own this season, conceding first to Elche and Ludogorets, but have pulled through and are climbing their way back up the table. Moreover, they are fairing much better in the Champions League, with Ernesto Valverde’s side suffering from a lack of depth.
Rayo Vallecano vs Barcelona
After a dab draw at Malaga, Barca returned to winning ways in emphatic style, with a 6 – 0 win over Granada. But a 3 – 2 loss to a spirited Paris Saint-Germain side put a thorn in Barcelona’s side and exposed their seemingly invisible defensive deficiencies. Who knows which Barcelona side will turn up to Madrid on Saturday?
Rayo by contrast have been average; extremely average. Two wins, two losses, two draws in La Liga, with 10 goals scored and 10 conceded. Paco Jémez’s side were without a win in four, before back to back wins over Athletic Bilbao and Levante. They will look to build on their good form, whilst exploiting Barca’s fatigue and despondency.
Celta de Vigo vs Villarreal
Sixth plays seventh as Villarreal make the trip to Vigo to face Celta, but there’s a difference of four points between the two at this early stage. Of course, Villarreal have played both Barcelona and Real Madrid at this early stage, but it is indicative of Celta’s positive start to the season, remaining unbeaten.
That may be set to continue, with Villarreal also in European action. Marcelino’s side completely dismantled Apollon Limassol, winning 4-0. But with a number of first team players featuring, despite six changes, the task of playing away at Celta could prove too much.
La Liga fixtures: Gameweek 7
Getafe v Cordoba
Valencia v Atletico Madrid
Rayo Vallecano v Barcelona
Eibar v Levante
Almeria v Elche
Málaga v Granada
Sevilla v Deportivo de La Coruna
Celta de Vigo v Villarreal
Espanyol v Real Sociedad
Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao
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