After a whirlwind of La Liga matches last week and UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches this past mid-week, the top flight of Spanish soccer is ready to battle again.
Programming note: For viewers in the United States, La Liga games are shown exclusively on beIN SPORT, beIN SPORT Espanol and DishWorld. Even if you don’t have a TV subscription to beIN SPORT, you can access those channels via online streaming service DishWorld for $10/month. Read our review of DishWorld. And sign up for DishWorld via their website.
Here’s a preview of this weekend’s La Liga matches available on US TV and Internet.
All times Eastern.
Friday Nov 8
Friday’s game in Pamplona is a basement battle between two sides struggling to make an impact. Almeria have won their last two games after failing to win any of the previous 10, while Osasuna were hammered 5-0 by fellow Basques Real Sociedad last weekend.
An Andalucian derby at Los Carmenes sees a resurgent Granada side face Bernd Schuster’s Malaga. El Grana sit in 11th spot in the table, just one place and a point ahead of their opponents. Both sides snatched last-minute victories last weekend, Granada winning 1-0 at Levante and Malaga edging Betis by the odd goal in five.
Saturday Nov 9
Carlo Ancelotti will be looking for a more consistent performance than the one that saw his men struggle to hold on to a 3-2 lead against Rayo Vallecano last weekend as his side take on Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernebeu. La Real will be looking to bounce back after another poor display in the Champions League while Los Blancos will be without defender Sergio Ramos, who is suspended after picking up five yellow cards.
Getafe coach Luis Garcia admitted his players were ‘tired’ after defeat against Valencia, their third game in seven days. He will be hoping for a response, however, when Getafe take on Elche at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Elche coach Fran Escriba has also urged his men to bounce back after their last minute defeat against Villarreal last Monday.
Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde conceded that his side were well beaten by in-form Atletico Madrid last time out and will have their work cut out against a resolute Levante when the sides meet at San Mames. Athletic defender Erik Moran is suspended after his red card against Atleti. Meanwhile, coach Joaquin Caparros was equally frustrated at Levante’s inability to take their chances Sunday’s defeat against Granada.
Celta Vigo are up to 15th in La Liga after their win at Sevilla, but coach Luis Enrique conceded that his side were fortunate to come away with three points thanks to a blunder by Sevilla keeper Beto. Celta have yet to register a home win and the visit of bottom side Rayo Vallecano could present the ideal opportunity to put that right. Rayo have the leakiest defence in La Liga and have won just once on their travels.
Sunday Nov 10
Espanyol vs Sevilla, 6am, beIN SPORT Play
Espanyol coach Javier Aguirre was unhappy after his side lost to neighbours Barcelona last Friday, despite a spirited performance from his team. They will be more optimistic of taking points from Sevilla, who have failed to win away from home for well over a year. Boss Unai Emery says Sevilla need to start winning after successive defeats to Real Madrid and Celta Vigo cancelled out an improvement in form. Striker Kevin Gameiro will miss Sunday’s game after limping off against Celta with a suspected thigh strain.
Valencia coach Miroslav Djukic was relieved to see his side overcome Getafe last weekend after defeats against Villarreal and Almeria. The win lifted Los Che up to ninth, a point behind local rivals Levante. Valladolid will be without the suspended Patrick Ebert after the German midfielder’s red card at Almeria.
The form side in La Liga, Atletico Madrid thrashed Austria Vienna 4-0 in the Champions League in midweek to ensure qualification as group winners with two matches left to play. A point behind Barcelona, Atleti take on a Villarreal side looking to keep up the pace with the top three. Villarreal will be without Giovani dos Santos after the Mexican pulled up early in the second half of the Yellow Submarine’s win at Elche with a suspected thigh strain.
Pressure is mounting on coach Pepe Mel after Betis lost again to a stoppage-time winner at Malaga last weekend. Club President Miguel Guillen has given Mel his public backing and is confident the coach can turn the Sevilla club’s fortunes around. Barcelona continue to top the table despite a lack of sparkle in recent performances and with Lionel Messi experiencing an unfamiliar goal-drought. However, La Blaugrana impressed in defeating Milan in midweek and will be looking for a convincing performance and result at Betis on Sunday.
Editor’s note: For more La Liga news, opinion and analysis, visit our La Liga page.