La Liga Week 4 preview: Real Madrid rattled by injury
Spanish Primera Liga will enter it's fourth week this weekend following the completion of Uefa Champions League/Europa League matchday 1.
Seven Spanish representatives in both competitions had mixed fortunes; Real Madrid, Sevilla and Athletico Madrid all won convincingly in the Uefa Champions League on Tuesday but Champions, Barcelona could only get a draw in Rome while Valencia despite mounting a two-goal comeback, fell at home to Zenit St. Petersburg.
On the other hand, Villareal lost their Europa League match with an Aduriz inspired Athletico bilbao getting all three points.
After a good start to the season, Barcelona will want to put the setback in Rome behind them and go for victory against Levante at the Camp Nou.
Luis Enrique will have to make do with the absence of Rafinha who got injured midweek while Thomas Vermaelen and Dani Alves are also notable absentees from the Barcelona squad due to injuries but with the attacking trio of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar all available, Barcelona should get their fourth consecutive league win.
Having lost at home in the Uefa Champions League, Valencia currently 8th on the table will be hoping to redeem their image when they welcome 9th placed Real Betis to the Estadio Mestalla.
Roberto Soldado and Cedric Bakambu will be expected to maintain their good run of form and help the ‘Yellow Submarine’ secure a home win against Athletico Bilbao who will also be relying on Aduriz to be at his best yet again.
Villareal with seven points and in fourth place will want to move further up the table after week four as the visiting team have only recorded just one win this season in the league.
Malaga CF will have to put behind them the disappointing 0-0 home draw to Eibar last weekend when they visit 20th placed Getafe on Friday. The host will have to kick start their season as soon as possible after losing the first three games of the season scoring two and conceding six in the process.
Sevilla’s 3-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach in the champions League will be a big boost for the team after struggling to get a perfect start to the season. With two points from three matches, the likes of Jose Antonio Reyes, Ciro Immobile, Kevin Gaimeiro and Fernando Llorente will be expected to lead Sevilla when they host third placed Celta Vigo at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Sevilla may be the favourite but Celta Vigo’s good start to the season will give them a chance against Unai Emery’s men.
Fifth placed Eibar will host former champions Athletico Madrid as the host will look to continue their surprising start to the season. Eibar is unbeaten in the first three matches but Diego Simeone’s men will be going into this as favourites although, a surprise from the host is possible.
After getting back into the season, Rafael Benitez will have to do a lot of tactical work to get the best out of his team with the current injury problems. With both Danilo and James Rodriguez already ruled out from last week, Real Madrid will have to get their fourth consecutive victory in all competitions without some key players. The latest casualty been Gareth Bale who has been involved in almost all the team’s attacking moves in recent games as well as team captain, Sergio Ramos.
This will definitely stretch the depth of the team but Real Madrid is expected not to be disturbed with Cristiano Ronaldo’s scoring form in the last two games when they host 11th placed Granada this weekend. French defender, Varane is also a doubt for the match as he trained alone on Thursday morning.
In other matches, Las Palmas will be looking for their first win of the season when they host a winless Rayo Vallecano. David Moyes’ Real Sociedad will welcome Espanyol as they work towards getting the first win of the season. Deportivo La Coruna should have all it takes to get a win at home to Sporting Gijon when the two sides meet later on Sunday.
Going into week four, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid currently leads the goal scoring chart with five goals with Nolito of Celta Vigo and Cedric Bakambu of Villareal second with three goals each.
Gareth Bale tops the Assist chart with three assists to his name while the trio of Antoine Griezmann (At. Madrid), Tiago (At. Madrid) and Roberto Soldado (Villareal) all have two assists each. Keylor
Navas of Real Madrid lead other goalkeepers with three clean sheets to his name.