Preview: Chukwueze eyes first start for Villarreal in 4 weeks, night lights for Madrid rivals
The matchday will start and end with games featuring the two giants of the Spanish capital, with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, while Samuel Chukwueze will be gunning for a first start in a month as Villarreal target a return to winning ways.
Villarreal and Samuel Chukwueze will look to bounce back from what was a disappointing loss last weekend as they welcome RC Celta to the Estadio de la Cerámica.
Nigeria's Chukwueze was a late substitute in that defeat to Osasuna the last time and will be looking to make his first start for the Yellow Submarines in the La Liga since February 13.
Meanwhile, Gerard Moreno could be back from injury for Villarreal to face the Iago Aspas-led side, which would make this a battle of the last two men to win the Zarra Trophy.
However, matchday 28 will kickoff 24 hours earlier, Atletico Madrid will be aiming to keep up their good run of form in their Friday night fixture at home to Cadiz CF, with Diego Simeone’s side winning each of the last three league matches between them.
Joao Felix has scored three goals across these three games and is in excellent form, so will look to put on a show for the crowd at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
Saturday’s action starts with Levante UD facing RCD Espanyol in a game that has the potential to produce goals, as their meeting earlier in the season finished 4-3 to the Catalan side.
In front of their home fans, bottom-placed Levante will be looking to keep up what has been a good recent run in a bid to continue what will be a great escape.
Granada will host Elche in what will be their first match since Robert Moreno was fired as coach. The visitors, Los Franjiverdes, have improved since they decided to make a change in their dugout, so, Granada will now hope for a similar turnaround in their fortunes.
José Bordalás will then make an emotional return to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, where he achieved so much success with Getafe CF. The coach will be in the away dugout this time and hoping his Valencia CF team can secure the three points, with Getafe CF academy graduate Hugo Duro leading Los Che’s line against his parent club.
Sevilla and Athletic Club face tricky away trips on Sunday
Sunday starts with tricky fixtures for the two clubs of Seville. First, Sevilla FC will visit Rayo Vallecano in Vallecas, which is still one of the most difficult stadiums to go to in LaLiga Santander, even if Rayo are on a poor run of form.
Later, Real Betis will play at home against Athletic Club, which could be a decisive match in the race for European qualification.
There is then a Basque derby on Sunday evening with Real Sociedad vs Deportivo Alaves at the Reale Arena. This was a hard-fought 1-1 draw when these two outfits met earlier in the season and another close contest should be expected here as José Luis Mendilibar’s side seek points that can move them out of the relegation zone.
FC Barcelona vs CA Osasuna is the Sunday night fixture, kicking off at 9 pm CET at the Camp Nou.
Xavi’s side is in great form and has now won three league games in a row, scoring 10 goals in the process, but the team from Navarre boast the third-most away victories in LaLiga Santander this season and they’ll be especially motivated after coach Jagoba Arrasate just signed a new contract.
The final fixture of Matchday 28 is RCD Mallorca vs Real Madrid, which will take place at 9:00 p.m. on Monday.
The last time the capital city side visited the island, RCD Mallorca achieved a 1-0 victory, so they’ll hope for a similar outcome this time around.
For Takefusa Kubo, this Monday night game is an especially exciting challenge, as he’ll be taking on his parent club.