MADRID: There is no time for pause in La Liga as the 20 teams in Spain’s top-flight go into the fifth round of games this weekend after this week’s midweek matches.
Atletico Madrid at home to Villarreal is Saturday’s most attractive game, with Luis Suarez likely to start in the Wanda Metropolitano as Atletico looks to improve on its flat showing away to Huesca in midweek.
Villarreal travels after an easy 3-1 win at home to Alaves and with strikers Paco Alcacer and Gerard Moreno both in excellent form after netting six goals between them in Villarreal’s first four games of the season.
Saturday also sees Valencia, who is second after a 1-0 win away to Real Sociedad, entertains Real Betis, who has lost consecutive matches after its winning start to the campaign. Betis coach Manuel Pellegrini needs an improvement after the poor first half display that saw his side thrashed 3-0 at Getafe on Wednesday.
Getafe went top of the table with that win and Jose Bordalas’ men now visit Real Sociedad, whose defeat to Valencia served to confirm that they are missing the support of their home fans. The side from San Sebastian has won just one and lost four of the eight home matches since football returned to Spain in empty stadiums in the middle of June, and on Saturday it will be without the injured Adnan Januzaj. Eibar has just one point from four games and Jose Luis Mendilibar’s team travels to Real Valladolid after seven days which has seen them lose home games to Athletic Bilbao and newly-promoted Elche.
Elche will look to build on its win in the Ipurua Stadium in a duel between recently promoted teams when it entertains a solid looking Huesca.
Osasuna didn’t play in midweek as its scheduled match against Granada was postponed to allow Granada to play in the Europa League, and the side from Pamplona should be fresher than Celta Vigo, who travels to the remodeled El Sadar Stadium after losing 3-0 at home to Barcelona.
There will be tension in Vitoria as Alaves looks to improve on a poor start that has brought just one point in four games under new coach Pablo Machin. They entertain Athletic Bilbao, who produced a dreadful display to lose 1-0 to a newly-promoted Cadiz side that played with nine men for almost 30 minutes on Thursday.
That performance has put Athletic coach Gaizka Garitano under pressure and both he and Machin need wins to assure they are still in their jobs after the international break.
Real Madrid has won without really impressing at the start of the season and Zinedine Zidane will again have selection questions to answer when his side visits Levante. Eden Hazard is out for several weeks, but Vinicus Jr made his case to start with his winning goal at home to Valladolid on Wednesday. Cadiz’s win in Bilbao means it has won its two away matches this season, but lost its two home games and it has another difficult task when it entertains a Granada side that qualified for the group stage of the Europa League on Thursday night. FC Barcelona has had an excellent start to the campaign and has looked much sharper and stronger under Ronald Koeman’s guidance in their opening two matches. However, it will be without central defender Clement Lenglet on Sunday, with the Frenchman missing the match against his former club Sevilla after being sent off in Vigo on Thursday.