The 13th round of games in Spain’s La Liga this weekend comes before the next international break and finds some clubs in a delicate moment of form and others looking for stability.
The weekend kicks off in San Sebastian on Friday night when Real Sociedad could go top of the table (for 24 hours at least) with a win at home to bottom of the table Leganes.
Leganes have just five points from their 12 games so far this season and on Monday appointed the experienced Javier Aguirre as first team coach. The Mexican will make debut for his fifth Spanish club against a Real Sociedad side without injured playmaker Martin Odegaard.
Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are both in action on Saturday with Real Madrid travelling to play Eibar.
Madrid (with Santiago Solari in the dugout) were thrashed 3-0 in Eibar’s Ipurua Stadium last season and it’s hard to know what to expect this time around from Zinedine Zidane’s side after their last three matches have seen a 5-0 win at home to Leganes and a 6-0 thrashing of Galatasaray, sandwiched between a 0-0 draw against Betis.
Celta Vigo have a new coach in charge after Oscar Garcia was named as the replacement to Fran Escriba this week and Oscar will make his debut away to FC Barcelona in the Camp Nou Stadium, where he began his career as a player.
Barca boss Ernesto Valverde admitted his side are in a dip in form after they were held to a 0-0 draw in the Champions League at home to Slavia Prague on Tuesday night – a result which came after last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Levante.
Valverde will again be without the injured Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba but nevertheless needs to see a convincing display before the international break to quieten critics in the press and in the stands.
Just five points separate the league leaders from Valencia in 13th place, but Albert Celades’ side have been improving in recent matches and could take a big step up the table if they beat Granada on Saturday.
Defeats to Getafe and Real Sociedad have knocked the wind out of Granada’s sails and a third consecutive defeat would see them start to slip down the table.
Saturday also sees Alaves at home to Valladolid, with the home side needing a win against a rival that has looked very solid this campaign.
Sunday kicks off with Mallorca at home to Villarreal, who are the second highest scorers in the league, despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Athletic Club Bilbao last weekend, Athletic meanwhile look to build on that draw with a win at home to Levante, who are flying after wins against Real Sociedad and Barca.
Atletico Madrid produced another disappointing display in midweek when they lost to Bayer Leverkusen, but will expect to beat second from bottom Espanyol, who are in Europa League action on Thursday night.
Getafe also play in Europe on Thursday before entertaining Osasuna, while the weekend ends with one of the most emotive games of the season in Spain as Betis entertain Sevilla in the Seville derby.
Last weekend’s draw away to Real Madrid saw Betis climb to 15th in the table and probably saved the job of coach Joan Ferrer ‘Rubi’ and a win at home to their bitter local rivals would be another massive step towards recovery.
Sevilla meanwhile are fifth in the table after last weekend’s draw at home to Atletico Madrid and aim to go into the international break in a top-four spot.