The tenth round of games in Spain’s Liga Santander should have focused on the ‘Clasico’ between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, but the postponement of that game still leaves us plenty of other things to keep an eye out for this weekend.
1. A chance for other clubs to grab the limelight
The Clasico would have captured nearly all of the focus and all of the headlines of the weekend, but the fact it is not going to be played until December 18th means that the media and Spanish football fans will have to pay more attention to other games over the weekend.
That means teams such as Granada, who could go top, or Real Sociedad, – who could move level of points with FC Barcelona, will get the attention their football so far this season deserves.
We’ll miss the Barcelona against Real Madrid match for sure, but maybe now we will enjoy watching some different sides in action.
2. Goals at a premium in the Wanda
Without the Clasico on the agenda, Saturday night’s game between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Club Bilbao is arguably the biggest game of the weekend, but if that is the case it’s not a game likely to produce many goals.
Both teams go into the match with exactly the same goal differences of 8 goals in favor and just five against, to show that while their defenses have been on top form, their attacks have struggled to hit the target.
Diego Costa has looked flat for Atletico and Alvaro Morata is likely to start after his midweek goal against Bayer Leverkusen, while Athletic Club’s main problem is a midfield which lacks the creativity to feed the lightning fast Inaki Williams.
3. Granada’s moment could be Rubi’s end
If Granada win their home game against Betis they will end the round of matches as leaders of the Liga Santander, which would be an incredible achievement for a newly promoted side.
Much of the credit has to go down to the work of 38-year-old coach Diego Martinez, whose only previous experience at the helm of a big club was a season in the second division with Osasuna.
Despite having a squad capable of more and a deadly striker in Loren Moron, Betis are currently third from bottom. Defeat on Sunday could mean the sack for coach Joan Ferrer ‘Rubi’ who last season took Espanyol to seventh, but left for the chance to coach what in theory is a bigger club.
4. Real Sociedad to make Escriba suffer
This season has already seen two coaches lose their jobs with Espanyol sacking David Gallego and Mauricio Pellegrino leaving bottom of the table Leganes. Betis’s ‘Rubi’ is also under pressure as is Fran Escriba at Celta Vigo.
Escriba’s men host an in form Real Sociedad and the former Elche and Villarreal boss must be worried about the visitors’ attack of Willian Jose, Mikel Oyarzabal, Portu and the Norwegian Martin Odegaard, who has been one of the revelations of the season in Spain.
Defeat for Celta could mean the end of Escriba’s time in Vigo, but you also have to think that if a club is on its fifth coach in just over two years, the problems run deeper than just the man in the dugout.