LA LIGA

‘Real Madrid on the brink’ - 4 things to expect from the La Liga this weekend

Matchday 34 of the current La Liga season could go down in history as one of the most interesting ever with a focus on league leaders Real Madrid.

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La Liga leaders Real Madrid have the chance to mathematically clinch the league title when they take to the pitch on Saturday afternoon at the Santiago Bernabeu.

But that’s just one of the key games this weekend, with the race for the top four and the relegation battle set to also take centre stage.

Here is a quick look at what to expect from the La Liga this weekend featuring fierce rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, Atletico and Real Betis, the latest Copa del Rey winners.

The Derbies

One of the regional rivalry matches is Sevilla FC vs Cádiz CF and this Andalusian derby is the first game of the round, taking place on Friday night.

Although they are competing at opposite ends of the table, both clubs have so much to play for and it should be an intense and hard-fought battle at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.

The other derby will be at the Mestalla where Valencia CF take on city rivals Levante UD in the Valencia Derby.

Los Che won the first meeting of the season 4-3 and now have the chance to do something they’ve never managed before, which is to beat Levante UD both home and away in the same LaLiga Santander season.

Saturday will be all about the league leaders, Real Madrid and what could happen in the game against RCD Espanyol at the Bernabéu.

This is a unique opportunity for Los Blancos to mathematically clinch a league title in front of their home fans as they haven’t done that since 2007.

Even though they’ve celebrated four league titles since then, the wins were all secured either on the road or behind closed doors because of the pandemic.

On Saturday, though, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will be able to have a title party with their supporters if they avoid defeat or beat their visitors.

A classic fixture of Spanish football then takes place in Bilbao on Saturday night, with Athletic Club and Atlético facing off.

These clubs share a historic connection and have played out some thrilling duels over the years, most recently when the Basque side eliminated Atleti in the Spanish Super Cup in January.

Diego Simeone’s charges will want some revenge for that, while they need the points as they pursue Champions League qualification.

Four more matches follow on Sunday, starting with Elche CF vs CA Osasuna as the home side looks to further pull away from the relegation zone after securing two wins in a row.

Granada CF, meanwhile, are currently inside the bottom three, but new coach Aitor Karanka had an impressive debut and will now hope for another positive result in his team’s home match against RC Celta.

On Sunday evening, Rayo Vallecano return to Vallecas after two games in a row in Catalonia, where they defeated Espanyol and then FC Barcelona by 1-0 scorelines thanks to goals from Sergi Guardiola and Álvaro García. Next up are Real Sociedad and Andoni Iraola’s side will be full of confidence.

FC Barcelona, meanwhile, will look to bounce back from that loss against Rayo Vallecano when they take on RCD Mallorca at Camp Nou.

Xavi’s side has now lost their past three home matches across all competitions, something that hadn’t ever happened at the club, and it won’t be easy against RCD Mallorca either, given that the islanders have so much to play for as they fight for survival. It promises to be an intriguing showdown at Camp Nou.

Copa del Rey champions Real Betis then return to action on Monday night with a visit to Getafe CF. Even in the aftermath of their cup success, and with a week still to go until this fixture, coach Manuel Pellegrini pointed out the importance of this LaLiga Santander trip to the capital.

With the Verdiblancos aiming to add Champions League qualification to their new piece of silverware, this Monday night match is a huge one.

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