Madrid derby with Real Madrid taking on neighbors Atletico

Matchday 23 in La Liga sees a Madrid derby with Real Madrid taking on neighbors Atletico in the Santiago Bernabeu, while there is also drama in Almeria and Valencia. Here are some things to look out for this weekend in Spain:


Real Madrid knocked Atletico out of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals a month ago with a 3-1 win after extra time, but Atletico were furious when Real’s Dani Ceballos wasn’t shown a second yellow card for a bad challenge when they were leading 1-0.

Real go into Saturday’s match eight points behind FC Barcelona in the race for the title and anything other than three points would give Barca the chance to open up a definitive gap at the top.

Atletico will need to control the exuberant Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema in the Madrid attack, but with Antoine Griezmann in excellent form and their defense looking solid, they will think they have a chance.


Things have started to go wrong for Rubi at Almeria, and the coach could find his job at risk if his side loses badly to Barcelona on Sunday.

Three straight defeats, culminating in a 6-2 thrashing at the hands of Girona a week ago, have left Almeria on the verge of the drop zone, and if Cadiz take a point on Saturday, they could kick off in the bottom three.

Barcelona travel to Almeria after losing to Manchester United in the Europa League on Thursday night, and although Pedri and Ousmane Dembele are still injured, Gavi will be rested after missing out in Old Trafford through suspension.


The arrival of Ruben Baraja as the new Valencia coach failed to produce an immediate return as they lost a close match 1-0 to fellow strugglers Getafe on Monday.

That result leaves Valencia second from bottom after five consecutive defeats and with just one point from the last 21.

That means it’s arguably the worst possible time to have to play Real Sociedad, who may have been held at home by Celta last weekend, but have a fearsome away record. The side from San Sebastian has won eight of their 11 league matches on the road this season, and with captain Jose Luis Gaya out for a month, Valencia need to produce something special.


Villarreal’s home game against Getafe on Monday night is vital for both sides.

Villarreal looked to have come into form at the start of the year and climbed into the top six, but a run of four consecutive defeats, including one to bottom side Elche, has seen them drop to ninth – three points behind sixth-placed Rayo Vallecano.

The continued absence of Gerard Moreno is clearly not helping, and the loss of Etienne Capoue through injury and the departure of Arnaut Danjuma to Tottenham has further limited the options of coach Quique Setien.

Getafe are still deep in trouble despite Monday’s win over Valencia, but the three points and the fact they drew their two previous games could give them the confidence in a battle against relegation. ■

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