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Football

Julen Lopetegui feeling the pressure as La Liga enters week 9

Celta Vigo vs Deportivo Alaves

Abanca-Balaidos, Vigo

Friday, 19-10-2018 @10:00pm (Super Sport 7)

Celta Vigo were glad to get into the international break, with Antonio Mohamed’s side limping to three draws and two defeats in their last five outings. The hosts are unbeaten in their last 15 games at Balaidos, but are facing a side who are built to play on the counter on the road. Deportivo Alaves went into the break in sixth place, with Abelardo’s side continuing to impress with their direct style.

Celta’s Maxi Gomez has returned from international duty with an ankle injury. Dennis Eckert will likely be deployed up front in the Uruguayan’s absence. Nestor Araujo is suspended, meaning that Gustavo Cabral and Facundo Roncaglia will feature at centre-back.

For Alaves, Fernando Pacheco is sidelined with an ankle injury, which should see Antonio Sivera deputise in goal. Ximo Navarro will retain his place at centre-back for the visitors after some great recent form. Ruben Sobrino will partner Jonathan Calleri up front for the away side, who will likely keep their 4-4-2 system.

Celta Vigo are undefeated in their last 15 home matches (La Liga). Celta Vigo have have not conceded a single goal in their last 3 home matches against Deportivo Alaves in all competitions.

Real Madrid vs Levante

Estadio Santiago Barnabeu, Madrid

Saturday, 20-10-2018 @02:00pm (Super Sport 7)

Real Madrid go into the game winless and goalless in their last four outings, losing three of their last four competitive games. Julen Lopetegui’s side hasn’t suffered a goalless run like this for decades, with the pressure ramping up on their new boss to turn things around quickly. They will be coming up against a Levante side that has won their last two games against (vs Getafe and Alaves), turning some poor form around in gritty fashion.

Dani Carvajal is sidelined until mid-November, which should see Alvaro Odriozola feature at right-back. Gareth Bale is still struggling with muscle fatigue, but is expected to start and if there is any doubt, he won’t be risked ahead of El Clasico. Isco is back available and should be fit to feature after going under the knife for appendicitis.

For the visitors, Nikola Vukcevic made a sprained ankle worse on international duty, playing despite Levante’s physios ruling him out of club action. Borja Mayoral is unavailable to feature against his parent club due to a clause in his loan contract. Paco Lopez is expected to retain his three-man central defensive line for the trip to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid have scored at least 2 goals in 10 of their last 11 matches against Levante in all competitions. The Los Blancos are also undefeated in their last 13 home league matches.  Real Madrid are undefeated in their last 11 matches against Levante in all competitions.

Valencia vs Leganes

Estadio Mestalla, Valencia

Saturday, 20-10-2018 @05:15pm (Super Sport 7)

Valencia have had a difficult start to their La Liga season, but Marcelino’s side have proven themselves to be very tough to beat both home and away. The hosts have drawn four of their last five competitive games including a 1-1 draw with Barcelona at Mestalla last time out. Leganes have lost their last 11 away matches, last winning on the road in October of last year.

Goncalo Guedes is sidelined due to an injury picked up against Barcelona in league action. Denis Cheryshev will be deployed on the left-hand side of Marcelino’s four-man midfield. Francis Coquelin is expected to start in central midfield after a chance to rest during the international break.

For Leganes, manager Mauricio Pellegrino is expected to go with a four-man defence on his visit to Mestalla. Rodri Tarin should retain his place in the team after some solid recent performances. Mikel Vesga is expected to partner Ruben Perez at the heart of midfield for the visitors.

Leganes have lost all their last 11 away matches in La Liga. Valencia have won their last 6 matches against Leganes in all competitions. They have also kept a clean sheet in their last 3 matches against Leganes in all competitions.

Villareal vs Atletico Madrid

Estadio De la Ceramica, Villareal

Saturday, 20-10-2018 @07:30pm

Villarreal go into Saturday’s encounter winless in their last three games. The hosts are winless in their last five home matches, which is usually something of a fortress for the Yellow Submarine. On the other hand, Atletico Madrid have only won one of their last four away matches in the Spanish top flight, failing to hit the back of the net against the likes of Real Madrid and Celta Vigo.

Villareal have Victor Ruiz struggling with a knock, which could see Daniele Bonera deployed at centre-back. Mario is back available to feature at right-back, while Ramiro Funes Mori should continue in midfield. Javi Calleja is expected to go with just Gerard Moreno leading the line, with Pablo Fornals in close support.

For the visitor, Josema Gimenez and Stefan Savic are back fit for the away side. Diego Costa is a doubt for the weekend, with Nikola Kalinic expected to partner Antoine Griezmann up front. Rodri should start once more in central midfield, as he continues to settle into Diego Simeone’s side nicely.

Atletico go into the game having kept a clean sheet in their last 4 league matches. Villarreal have failed to score in their last 3 home La Liga matches but they  have won their last 3 home matches against Atletico in all competitions.However, Atletico are undefeated in 9 of their last 10 matches.

Bareclona vs Sevilla

Estadio Camp Nou, Barcelona

Saturday, 20-10-2018 @09:45pm (Super Sport 7)

Barcelona have been going through a tough run of form of late, winning just one of their last five competitive games across all competitions. In La Liga action, Ernesto Valverde’s side have drawn three and lost one of their last four matches. Getting back to winning ways at Camp Nou is of paramount importance for Bulgrana. However, they come up against a Sevilla  side that has won four of their last five competitive games, which has led Pablo Machin’s side into the ninth match day in first place.

Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen are both out injured, leaving just Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet fit as centre-back options. Sergi Roberto is back fit and should replace Nelson Semedo at right-back. Arthur should feature in midfield once again, with Luis Suarez fit to lead the line.

Sevilla on the other hand have Sergio Escudero and Gabriel Mercado are back fit and available after suffering arm injuries.Guilherme Arana is expected to be preferred at left wing-back to Aleix Vidal. Franco Vazquez is also expected to feature in central midfield alongside Ever Banega.

Barcelona have scored at least 2 goals in their last 8 matches against Sevilla in all competitions. They have won 7 of their last 8 matches against Manchin’s men in all competitions. On the other hand, Sevilla have won their last 4 matches.

Real Vallecano vs Getafe

Estadio del Rayo Vellecano, Madrid

Sunday, 21-10-2018 @01:00pm (Super Sport 7)

Rayo Vallecano are winless in their last four league outings, but did manage to pull off a 2-2 draw against high-flying Espanyol. The hosts have conceded 11 goals across their first three home La Liga games of the campaign, with Michel needing to tighten things up at the back. Getafe are winless in their last four competitive games too, but Los Azulones taken five points from their last available nine on the road.

Alvaro Medran is suspended and injured for the hosts, with Santi Comesana anchoring the midfield. Raul de Tomas will be fit to lead the line, with Bebe expected to be preferred to Alvaro Garcia on the left wing. Giannelli Imbula will continue in central midfield after a terrific start to life at Rayo.

Djene and Francisco Portillo are both out due to suspension for the away side. Leandro Cabrera will fill in at centre-back alongside Bruno for Jose Bordalas’ side. Robert Ibanez may get a start on the right flank, or Mauro Arambarri could be deployed out wide to allow Markel Bergara to feature centrally.

Rayo Vallecano have won their last 4 home matches against Getafe in all competitions.

Eibar vs Athletic Club

Estadio Municipal de Ipurua, Eibar

Sunday, 21-10-2018 @05:15pm (Super Sport 7)

Eibar signed off with a 3-2 win against Girona before the international break, before Jose Mendilibar’s side kept their momentum up with a friendly win over Leganes during the interval. The hosts have won three of their last five home games in La Liga, with their form at Ipurua vital to avoiding being dragged into a bottom-half scrap. Athletic have been in poor form so far this season, but they have been dealt a tough fixture list. Currently sat at the wrong end of the table, a win is needed to turn things round quickly.

Paulo Oliveira is out with a muscle problem, which should see Ivan Ramis feature at centre-back for Eibar. Pablo De Blasis and Fabian Orellana are expected to retain their places out wide. Charles has been in decent form of late and should be preferred up top to Kike Garcia.

Eduardo Berizzo is expected to deploy Yuri at left-back, rather than doubling up down the flank with Mikel Balenziaga. Inaki Williams should feature from the left wing, allowing for Iker Muniain to have more of a central influence. Inigo Martinez is fully fit to feature at centre-back, leaving Peru Nolaskoain to get minutes with the B team.

Athletic Bilbao have failed to win 11 of their last 12 away matches in La Liga. Bilbao are undefeated in 9 of their last 10 matches against Eibar in all competitions.

Huesca vs Espanyol

Estadio El Alcoraz, Huesca

Sunday, 21-10-2018 @07:30pm (Super Sport 7)

Huesca are heading into this weekend with a new coach in charge after Francisco was appointed following the sacking of Leo Franco. The hosts are yet to pick up a win at Estadio El Alcoraz, which needs to become their fortress if they are to try and battle off the threat of relegation. Espanyol have only suffered defeat at the hands of Real Madrid during their last five league outings. Rubi’s side are flying high in La Liga.

Carlos Akapo will feature at left-back for the hosts due to Luisinho’s continued absence. Gonzalo Melero is struggling with a back problem but should be fit to help anchor the midfield. Cucho Hernandez is expected to lead the line after scoring twice on his Colombia debut recently.

Hernan Perez has been in good form and could be preferred to Leo Baptistao on the right flank. Sergio Garcia should feature on the left wing once more after some exciting recent performances. Mario Hermoso is fully fit to feature at centre-back, with Rubi not expected to tinker with a winning formula.

SD Huesca have lost 5 of their last 6 league matches.

Real Betis vs Real Valladolid

Estadio Benito Villamarin, Seville

Sunday, 21-10-2018 @09:45pm (Super Sport 7)

Real Betis broke up for the international break with a 1-0 defeat against Atletico Madrid, but Quique Setien’s side have started to score some goals. The hosts have lost just one of their last five competitive matches, winning three games while keeping clean sheets in the process.

Real Valladolid have conceded just one goal in their last three La Liga games, with their recent form helping to carry them a long distance from the relegation zone.

Andres Guardado is struggling with a hamstring problem, which should see William Carvalho come into central midfield. Takashi Inui and Ryad Boudebouz will battle it out to help support Loren Moron in attack. Junior and Francis should retain their places out wide after some good recent form.

Duje Cop is sidelined due to injury, which should see Enes Unal supported up top by Leo Suarez. Oscar Plano is still not fully fit, which might see Antonito feature on the right-hand side of midfield. No big changes are expected from Sergio, given that Real Valladolid have won their last three matches.

Real Betis are undefeated in their last 11 home matches against Real Valladolid in all competitions.

Real Sociedad vs Girona

Estadio Municipal de Anoeta, San Sebastian

Monday, 22-10-2018 @10:00pm (Super Sport 7)

Real Sociedad relieved some of the pressure on their boss Asier Garitano with a 3-1 win over Basque rivals Athletic Club last time out. The hosts have taken just one point from their last available nine on the road in the league, conceding five goals in the process.

Girona are winless in their last four league games, picking up consecutive draws on the road against Huesca and Barcelona.

Juanmi is available after suspension for the home side, but is expected to start on the bench. Andoni Gorosabel will be deployed at right-back once again for the hosts, with Joseba Zaldua still sidelined with an ankle problem. Luca Sangalli should start on the right once again after impressing before the international break.

Pedro Porro is a doubt for the away side, but is expected to start on the right wing. Aleix Garcia and Douglas Luiz are expected to feature in central midfield, as Alex Granell is sidelined. Pedro Alcala should be preferred at centre-back to Marc Muniesa.

Girona are undefeated in their last 6 away league matches.

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