• Monday, February 26, 2024
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La Liga Preview: Real, Barça look to mount pressure on Girona

Screenshot 2023-11-25 102947

La Liga returns this weekend, following the November international break. During the pause, Girona FC stood tall at the top of the table, as the Catalan club is currently on 34 points to the 32 of Real Madrid and the 30 of Barcelona.

Interestingly, Girona plays in the final fixture of Matchday 14 on Monday night, so their title rivals will look to put the pressure on before the leaders are back in action.

There are four matches in the La Liga this  Saturday, three of which are in Spain’s capital, starting with Rayo Vallecano up against Barcelona. Xavi will take his squad to Vallecas, aware of how difficult a fixture this is, given that Barça hasn’t won any of their previous four meetings with Rayo Vallecano. In the past two seasons, Los Franjirrojos have won 1-0 and 2-1 at home against FC Barcelona and will hope to make it a third straight home victory against Los Blaugrana.

Read also Barcelona vs. Alaves: Catalan not giving up on La Liga title push

Next up is Valencia CF vs Celta Vigo, and this will be a very special game for Rafa Benítez, who’ll return to the stadium where he won two La Liga titles at the beginning of the century. In the opposite dugout, the current Celta boss will find one of his former players, Rubén Baraja, so all eyes will be on the sidelines at the start of this contest.

The action then returns to Madrid, specifically to Getafe CF’s Coliseum for their duel with UD Almería. The Andalusian side are still chasing their first LALIGA EA SPORTS win of the season but will travel to the capital aware that Getafe CF haven’t lost since September.

Atlético Madrid vs RCD Mallorca concludes Saturday’s action, and this is another case of a coach returning to his former club as Javier Aguirre will take on the team he managed between 2006 and 2009. Of course, Diego Simeone is the main man at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano these days, and the Argentine will seek an 18th consecutive home win.

In the first Sunday games, Marcelino will debut as Villarreal’s coach for a second time. The Spanish tactician has returned to the club he previously managed from 2013 to 2016 and will take on Osasuna in front of the Estadio de la Cerámica crowd.

On Sunday afternoon, there is a duel between two Champions League sides in the Basque Country, as Real Sociedad and Sevilla battle. After fighting back to draw Elgran Derbi last time out, the Sevilla veterans of Jesús Navas, Sergio Ramos and Ivan Rakitić, will hope that can be the springboard for a solid year-end.

Second-placed Real Madrid will pay a visit to Cádiz on Sunday evening, and they will travel south knowing that a victory would at least temporarily put them top of the table. With Jude Bellingham set to return following an injury, Los Blancos will be full of confidence as they visit the Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla.

The final game on Sunday is Real Betis vs UD Las Palmas, and this will be an interesting duel between two sides who are in good form and who play possession-based football. Currently seventh and eighth in the standings, respectively, this could be one of the most attractive duels of the weekend as these two squads of technical players face off.

The last fixture of the matchday is at the home of the leaders of Girona FC, who’ll look to keep up their incredible run when Athletic Club comes to town. Given that the Basques enter the matchday in fifth place, this will be one of the toughest tests so far for Míchel’s side, but Girona FC have been surprising fans all season and will target a sixth win in a row on Monday night.