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Football

Barcelona, Madrid look to bounce back from mid week defeats

Rayo Vallecano vs Espanyol

Estadio del Rayo Vallecano, Madrid

Friday, 28-09-2018 @10:00pm (Super Sport 7)

Referee: Javier Alberola Roja

Vallecano start match day 7 second from the bottom when they host Espanyol in la Liga’s customary Friday night game. Michel’s side have endured a poor start that has seen them win only one of their opening six while the other against Bilbao was postponed due to a poor pitch. Their opponents Espanyol have gone out of the block in the new season, winning three and drawing one of their first six. Friday night’s match away to Vallecano is very much an opportunity for three more points for Rubi’s men.

Gorka Elustondo will be sidelined for six weeks after pulling his groin against Alaves recently. Abdoulaye Ba is back available after serving a one-match suspension and will slot in at center-back. Santi Comesana should be deployed in central midfield, with Alvaro Garcia used out on the left wing.

For Esponyol, David Lopez is still a doubt with a muscle problem, so Oscar Duarte should deputise at center-back. Esteban Granero should feature in central midfield but does have competition after a great midweek performance from Oscar Melendo. Leo Baptistao has an ankle knock, with Hernan Perez ready to fill in on the right wing if necessary.

The last time Vallecano hosted Espanyol, the home side won 3-0-their first win over the Barcelona based side in their last six meetings.

Real Sociedad vs Valencia

Estadio Municipal de Anoeta, Donostia

Saturday, 29-09-2018 @02:00pm (Super Sport 7)

Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano

Real Sociedad battled from behind to take a point against Rayo Vallecano last time out, showing a bit more resolve after a spirited showing with nine men against Huesca. Their home form has been very competitive thus far, despite the lack of a win in their newly reopened Anoeta but last weekend’s visitor Barcelona were asked serious questions in San Sebastian last week. For Valencia, they are still to taste victory in La Liga, having drawn five of their opening six fixtures. A late Iago Aspas strike robbed them of the chance to snatch three points at Mestalla last time out.

Theo Hernandez and Juanmi are serving their second games of their respective four and three-match suspensions. Willian Jose returned with a goal last time out and will lead the line for the hosts. Asier Garitano will need to be inventive once again in terms of how to plug the gap on his left wing.

After returning from suspension, and despite his poor form in La Liga, Dani Parejo is expected to start in central midfield for Valencia. Geoffrey Kondogbia should be fit to start after injury, too, meaning Carlos Soler should feature on the right-hand side of midfield. Ezequiel Garay is fit to play a part for Marcelino’s side, but Mouctar Diakhaby may still retain his place alongside Gabriel Paulista at center-back.

Valencia defeated Sociedad home and away last season including a 2-1 win at the Anoeta, ending a run of four consecutive defeats against Asier Garitano’s men.

Barcelona vs Athletic Club

Estdaio Camp Nou, Barcelona

Saturday, 29-09-2018 @05:15pm (Super Sport 7)

Referee: Santiago Jaime Latre

Clement Lenglet is available after suspension, but Ernesto Valverde should go with Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique at centre-back despite the Spaneard enduring criticism over his mid-week display at Leganes. Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez will rotate back in after a bit of rest against Leganes. Philippe Coutinho should retain his place in midfield after scoring last time out.

Markel Susaeta is likely to come straight back into the team on the right wing after serving his one-match suspension. Aritz Aduriz should be fit to play some part for the away side, but Inaki Williams is expected to start up top. Benat and Raul Garcia should feature in central midfield, with Iker Muniain set to be deployed on the left-hand side.

Barcelona have taken one point from their last available six in La Liga after drawing at home against Girona and then tasting defeat on the road against Leganes on Wednesday evening. The Blaugrana are looking very shaky at the back during their opening league fixtures, with Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti in particular having poor starts to the campaign. Athletic go into the game having suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat at home against Villarreal last time out, meaning that they still have just one win to their name from their opening five matches.

Barcelona have lost only two of their last 16 meetings with Athletic. The reverse fixture last season ended in a 2-0 victory for the Bulgranas.

Eiber vs Sevilla

Estadio Municipal de Ipurua

Saturday, 29-09-2018 @07305pm

Referee: Javier Estrada Fernandez

Eibar have picked up two wins so far this season, with both coming at Ipurua. Sevilla have been rather inconsistent, so Los Armeros will be looking to take advantage of that this weekend. The hosts come into this game after some rotation midweek but will take plenty of heart from a recent 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid. They’ve clawed their way back into form after a slow first couple of performances. Sevilla have put together three consecutive wins across all competitions, scoring a cumulative 14 goals in that time, and recorded a 3-0 win over Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Jose Mendilibar should make a few changes once again, in what is a busy week in Spain. Ivan Ramis should partner Anaitz Arbilla at center-back for the home side against Sevilla. Pablo Hervias is expected to start out wide, with Fabian Orellana also getting a chance to impress. Pablo de Blasis should get a rest.

Aleix Vidal will be out for a short while, adding to a growing injury list for Pablo Machin. Guilherme Arana should be fit to start at left wing-back in the Basque Country. Andre Silva and Wissam Ben Yedder should both feature up front due to their recent goalscoring form.

Eiber have not lost to Sevilla at home since their maiden season back into the top tier. In that period, they have won one and drawn the other two fixtures including a 5-1 thrashing of Pablo Machin’s men last season.

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid

Saturday, 29-09-2018 @09:45pm (Super Sport 7)

Referee: Juan Martinez Munuera

Daniel Carvajal is carrying a knock, but could be rushed back to feature at right-back against Atleti. Marcelo limped off with an injury problem for Real Madrid midweek, which should see Nacho start at left-back. Casemiro should anchor the midfield, while Isco faces some time on the sidelines after suffering from appendicitis.

Jose Gimenez is carrying a minor ankle problem, but it is unlikely to stop him from featuring in such a big game against Real Madrid. Rodri is expected to be named in the center of midfield for the away side. Lucas is set to get the nod ahead of Filipe Luis at left-back from Diego Simeone.

Real Madrid’s good form was brought to an abrupt end last time out, as Sevilla romped to a 3-0 win at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Wednesday evening. Julen Lopetegui’s side have opened up their competitive season with four consecutive victories, conceding just one goal in the process – and none from open play. Atletico Madrid have enjoyed a productive last week, recording wins against Monaco, Getafe and Huesca. They will be confident due to that momentum and should fancy their chances of causing an upset after their recent European Super Cup victory over Los Blancos.

The two matches between these two sides finished in stalemates last season with the reverse fixture ending 1-1.

Huesca vs Girona

Estadio El Alcoraz, Huesca

Sunday, 30-09-2018 @01:00pm (Super Sport 7)

Referee: Adrian Cordero Vega

Huesca have lost their last four La Liga matches, with Leo Franco’s side struggling to hit the heights of their first two top-flight games. The hosts haven’t found the back of the net in their last three attempts, firing blanks against Rayo, Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid. Huesca are yet to score at home, too. Girona’s strong run of form was ended by a 1-0 defeat last time out, but Eusebio’s side have taken four points from their recent trips to Camp Nou and La Ceramica.

Luisinho will be sidelined until April with a ligament injury that he picked up against Atletico Madrid. Carlos Akapo will likely slot in at left-back as a result, despite right-back being his stronger position. Aguilera could come into the midfield to shore things up.

Eusebio has no fresh injury concerns after his side’s 1-0 defeat to Betis. There should be no changes in defence, with Pedro Porro expected to retain his place at right wing-back. Douglas Luiz has been in good form of late and should be preferred to Pere Pons.

Girona defeated Huesca home and away in the Segunda last season including a 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture.

Villareal vs Real Valladolid

Estadio de la Ceramica, Villareal

Sunday, 30-08-2018 @02:00pm (Super Sport 7)

Referee:  Ignacio Glesias Villanueva

Villarreal are now unbeaten in their last four competitive games. At home, however, they have been out of sorts. Javi Calleja’s side have recently drawn with both Valencia and Rangers on their own patch, as well as losing 1-0 to Girona. La Ceramica has been anything but a fortress for the Yellow Submarine. Real Valladolid got their first win of the season on the board last time out, with Sergio’s men now having scored four goals across their last two outings.

Ramiro Funes Mori will feature in central midfield once again, and even found the back of the net last time out. Pablo Fornals was in top form against Athletic and will continue in a wide role in midfield. Carlos Bacca is expected to partner Gerard Moreno up front, despite Karl Toko Ekambi scoring on Wednesday.

Enes Unal is unavailable for the away side, due a clause in his loan contract preventing him from playing against his parent club. Javi Moyano, Oscar Plano and Toni Villa are all injury concerns after Thursday night’s win over Levante. Michel should continue to get minutes in the centre of midfiel, as Real Valladolid have improved with him in the side.

Villareal have not lost at home to valladolid since 2008. The last time the Yellow Submarines hosted Valladolid in the league, the home side truimphed 2-1 in August 2013.

Levante vs Deportivo Alaves

Estadio Ciudad de Valencia

Sunday, 30-09-2018 @07:30pm (Super Sport 7)

Referee: Mario Melero Lopez

Levante have been in desperately poor form of late, taking just one point from their last available 15 in La Liga action. Paco Lopez’s side are usually solid defensively, but have been leaky since opening up the campaign strongly with a 3-0 win over Real Betis. Alaves have lost just one of their opening six La Liga games, kicking on strongly from a good second half to last campaign.

Nikola Vukcevic is suspended for the home side after getting two yellow cards against Real Valladolid. Enis Bardhi should partner Jose Campana in the centre of midfield as a result. Borja Mayoral should get another start alongside Roger Marti up top.

Jonathan Calleri should start up top for Alaves after netting two goals in his last three outings. Changes should be unlikely, given that Abelardo’s side have started the season in terrific form. The away side find themselves in the upper reaches of the table and will be running high on confidence.

Alavez won the reverse fixture 2-0 last season and have ever lost only one game to Levante in history.

Real Betis vs Leganes

Estadio Benito Villamarin, Sevilla

Sunday, 30-09-2018 @09:00pm (Super Sport 7)

Referee: Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez

Betis ended a three-match run of draws with victory during the week, boosting his squad’s confidence after a difficult last fortnight. The hosts have still lost just one game this campaign, with their solitary defeat coming on the opening day in something of a false start. Setien’s side have tightened up at the back since then. Leganes picked up their first victory of the top-flight campaign last time out, edging to a 2-1 win upset against Barcelona at Butarque.

Quique Setien should make many changes after his side’s 1-0 win over Girona on Thursday. Loren Moron found the back of the net midweek, which may give him a slight edge over Tony Sanabria up front.Giovani Lo Celso is expected to be given a chance from the off in midfield after Ryad Boudebouz disappointed against Girona.

Oscar should be fit to start consecutive games for the away side in midfield.Dimitrios Siovas is available once more after illness and should slot straight back in at centre-back.Youssef En-Nesyri is expected to lead the line once again for the visitors after a good performance against Barcelona.

The away side has won only once in this fixtures and it dates back to March 2015 when Leganes defeated Betis 3-1 at the Villamarin. Last seaon, Betis won the fixture 3-2 at home.

Celta Vigo vs Getafe

Abanca Balaidos, Vigo

Monday, 01-10-2018 @10:00pm (Super Sport 7)

Referee: Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez

Celta Vigo have lost just one of their last five league games, but Mohamed is still feeling his way into the job at Balaidos in terms of the systems he is using. The hosts haven’t tasted victory in their last three outings, dropping points against the likes of Girona, Real Valladolid and Valencia. They need to pick things up quickly again. Getafe have had a fairly inconsistent season so far in terms of their points return, but they have kept three clean sheets in their last five La Liga attempts.

David Junca is out with a sprained ankle, which will see Junior Alonso return as Celta’s left wing-back. Pione Sisto will feature on the left wing ahead of him, as Sofiane Boufal is struggling with a knock to his foot. Nestor Araujo, Gustavo Cabral and Facundo Roncaglia will make up the back three.

Leandro Cabrera is expected to be preferred to Antunes at left-back for the away side. Amath will be picked ahead of the returning Ivan Alejo, due to his goal against Alaves midweek. There should be no big changes, as Jose Bordalas’ side are beginning to hit their stride performance-wise in the league.

These two sides have drawn their last two fixtures at Balaidos includinga a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture last season.

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