Aside form a fascinating match between Barcelona and Sevilla on Sunday, there is plenty of interest elsewhere in La Liga this weekend.
Real Madrid play their second derby in a week when they travel the short distance to Getafe this evening. Real Madrid, now in fourth place, should be well prepared for the match now that most of the Geriatricos have gone into international retirement.
Rumours that Ronaldo is set to start up front alongside Van Nistelrooy are probably unfounded given that the Brazilian is likely to be some way short of match fitness and unlikely to play for the full 90 minutes. However he is likely to make an appearance for the first time this season.
The enforced absence of Reyes through injury will also provide an opportunity for David Beckham and the former England captain will relish the chance to stake a claim for a place in the starting eleven ahead of next week’s game against Barcelona.
Bernd Schuster has never won a game against Real Madrid as a manager and will be happy with a repeat of last season’s draw at home. His side are having trouble scoring but they also have a good defensive record, so expect a tight game that slightly favours the visitors.
The only other game being played on Saturday features Atletico Madrid at home to Recreativo Huelva. The loss of Maxi Rodriguez for six months will be a huge blow to Aguirre and the fallout from the pitch controversy continues to make the headlines with Atleti seeking substantial compensation from the Spanish federation.
The difference between Atletico and Recre is perhaps greater than fourth against fifth would suggest and this should be a comfortable win for the home side.
On Sunday, Valencia who are level with Barcelona on 13 points, travel to Celta Vigo. Recent form would suggest that an away win is likely and that Valencia stand a good chance of going top if Barcelona are held by Sevilla. The international break may have given the Galicians a chance to regroup however and they will be desperate to improve upon their dreadful start to the season -four points from fifteen. A draw may be the most likely outcome.
Deportivo could be about to register their first away win of the season when they visit Real Betis. The visitors seem to be improving all of the time and are a gelling into a decent, if very youthful, outfit whilst Betis can only cast jealous glances at their nearest rivals.
Osasuna look very likely to register a home win against a troubled Racing side who must put all of their managerial shenanigans behind them if they are to get anything at all out of this game.
Villarreal started the season badly but now seem to have recovered some of last season’s form and look set to continue their climb up the table by beating a struggling Espanyol. Defeat for the Barcelona side will heap more pressure upon Valverde and will be the cue for even more negative press and public laundry washing in the week ahead.
Real Sociedad are in a bit of a state at the moment and Bakero’s recent interview did little to inspire confidence in a side rooted to the bottom of the table – An away win for Zaragoza looks likely.
Athletic Bilbao travel to Tarragona for a match that feature two sides likely to be involved in a relegation battle come the end of the season. A vital game for both sides and Athletic may actually be happier playing away from the pressure cauldron that they call home – prompting a much needed win for the Basque side.