Some exciting games to look forward to this weekend in Spanish football with some teams still looking for points whilst others are desperately in need of a convincing performance to erase the doubts and silence the critics.
The most eye-catching game of the weekend is, sadly, the one that most of us will not get to see; that is , of course if the Sevilla president continues to ban television cameras from all of his team’s matches on his crusade to become the most egotistical President in the history of Spanish football.
The most in-form side in Spain at the moment , Sevilla host their bitter, city rivals Real Betis who also happen to be the last team to defeat them in a competitive match.
Since Betis’ 2-1 home victory last April, Sevilla have gone uneaten in the league, winning their last five matches of last season - Including victories over Barcelona and Real Madrid- won the Uefa cup and the Uefa Super cup. They have also won the opening two games of this season in a very convincing fashion.
Betis, in stark contrast to their neighbours, suffered a dismal season last year, finishing just three points above relegation. However, this derby match is perhaps the most passionately contested in La Liga and , as Betis striker Robert points out; “ Derbies are different to any other game,"
"Whichever team has the most will and desire will be the one who ends up victorious." the Brazilian said.
Sevilla are the favourites, no doubt, but Betis will be playing for pride and going all out to break their opponents 100% record. An interesting encounter that few of us will get to see.
Two other teams with the maximum points tally this season go head to head at the Mestalla where Valencia, buoyed by their Champions league victory, host Getafe. With victories over Racing and Osasuna to their name, Getafe face their sternest test of the season so far and are likely to adopt a pragmatic approach to the game and look for a draw. Valencia, with a resurgent Morientes should just shade it, but it will be close.
Racing Santander are a side still searching for their first points and are unlikely to find them at home to Barcelona on Sunday. The visitors, unbeaten in the league and rampant in the Champions league this week will continue to keep everyone guessing with Rijkaard’s new rotation policy.
Real Madrid will have a lot to prove, at home to a poor Real Sociedad, this weekend. See full preview.
Villarreal have been unable to carry the success of last season into the start of this one and last season's Champions League semi-finalists, are still in the hunt for their first win of the new season as they visit Deportivo La Coruna. They are also looking for their first goal of the season as well and Pellegrini’s men need to respond in a positive manner to the humiliating defeat to Recreativo last week.
Recreativo Huelva, who beat Villarreal in their last outing, will be looking to inflict more misery on a Levante side who have conceded eight goals in losing their first two matches.
In the other games, Athletic Bilbao host Atletico Madrid, Real Mallorca, boosted by the signing of former Spain striker Diego Tristan, travel to Real Zaragoza, Espanyol are at home to Celta Vigo and Gimnastic Tarragona travel to Osasuna.
Zaragoza look good for a win, at home against a dour Mallorca side who looked certain to struggle this season. Zaragoza are not the best defensively but Diego Tristan is unlikely to cause them too many problems.
Athletic Bilbao host Atletico and , as is the case with both these teams, you never quite know what you are going to get. In fact the only certainty over recent seasons is that both will always seem to disappoint. Optimism is particularly high at Atletico this season, with numerous quality additions and buoyed by Torres commitment to the club, for at least a season. The Madrid side, however, have a resoluteness under Aguirre that has been missing for a very long time and may actually deliver something this season. Atletico are very good at home though, so a draw is quite likely.
Osasuna have had a miserable start to the season but should win at home this weekend against new boys Nastic of Tarragona.
Celta Vigo travel to Espanyol and look good for an away win. The Galicians remain a bit of an unknown quantity but will be feeling positive following their midweek Uefa cup success. Espanyol, meanwhile, don’t really seem to know what they are doing and will need to sort things out very quickly to avoid becoming rooted to the bottom of the table - they appear, as they in fact are at the moment, ‘pointless’