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Monday, 21 October 2019

La Liga preview: More thrills expected in tight race

La Liga , Friday 5 Oct 2018
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The tightest LaLiga Santander early-season title race in years continues this weekend, with fans in both the Basque Country and the Spanish capital eagerly looking forward to 'derby' clashes.

Defending champions Barcelona currently sit top of the table, but one of Real Madrid, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis, Alaves or Espanyol could take over by Monday with anything possible given the unpredictable results of recent weeks.

Meanwhile, local pride is also at stake in the Basque derby between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad on Friday night, as both the Bilbao and San Sebastian based sides look to return to form.

Saturday lunchtime sees Girona host Eibar at Montilivi, a chance for the Catalan side to get revenge for heavy defeats to the Basques in both meetings last season. Next up on Saturday Levante visit Getafe’s Coliseum Alfonso Perez, with both sides buoyed by positive results last weekend.

The first ‘top of the table’ clash comes at Alaves’s Mendizorroza stadium, where Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui’s stumbling side face a stiff task against a side unbeaten at home so far this season under Abelardo Fernandez.

The focus then switches to the bottom for Saturday’s late game, with Leganes and Rayo Vallecano aiming to build on improved recent performances when they meet in a south Madrid derby at Butarque.

Sunday’s early fixture brings together two newly promoted teams, with Valladolid out to extend their three-game unbeaten run against a Huesca side looking for a first victory since week one.

Two of LaLiga’s in-form sides then meet at the Wanda Metropolitano, with Diego Simeone’s Atletico coming into the game on the back of a strong showing in last week’s Madrid derby and Quique Setien’s stylish Betis side picking up form in recent games.

LaLiga’s current top scorer Andre Silva will then aim to shoot his Sevilla team to a fourth straight LaLiga Santander victory when the Estadio Sanchez-Pizjuan hosts the free-scoring Celta Vigo side.

Sunday evening also sees Espanyol and Villarreal clash, with the Barcelona-based side bang in form and the visitors’ forward Gerard Moreno returning to his old home at Cornella-El Prat.

League leaders Barça then round off the weekend action with a mouth-watering clash at Mestalla. After a bright start Ernesto Valverde’s side are looking for a first LaLiga win in four while fellow Champions League side Valencia are hitting their stride thanks to a super-tight defensive line.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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