La Liga Preview week 10: Real Madrid favourite to stay top
Together with Bayern Munich and Paris Saint German, Real Madrid is the only Liga BBVA team that is still unbeaten in Europe’s top five leagues. Although Bayern lost to Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League, the other two are unbeaten in all competitions this season. This alone will be motivating for the Los Blancos as they hope to maintain top spot in the La Liga this weekend. La Liga enters the 10th week this weekend as the top three teams from last season lead the table with only two points separating them. It has been a season of surprises so far but the ‘big teams’ are looking ready to take over.
Title contenders, Athletico Madrid will face a tough trip to Deportivo La Coruna on Friday evening with the host staying three places and six points of Athletico Madrid. It will definitely be a big task for Diego Simeone’s men considering how well Deportivo is playing at the moment.
League leaders, Real Madrid will be without key figures when they host Las Palmas at the Bernabeu. Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Keylor Navas, Carvajal and Sergio Ramos are all expected to miss the weekend fixture with Rafael Benitez not in the mood to risk the players.
In the absence of Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to lead the line for Real and the Portuguese skipper will hope to add to his ‘not too impressive’ goal record in the league this season going by his standard.
Real Madrid are only leading Barcelona with goal difference and will need to maintain that or extend it before the El Classico later in November if they are to take a bold step in winning the title they have not won in a while.
Las Palmas are currently 18th on the table and they are expected to fall easily at the Bernabeu. 13th placed Getafe will play host to Barcelona as the Catalans will do their best to stay in touch with Real Madrid.
Despite Messi’s long term absence, Neymar and Luiz Suarez have been impressive in recent weeks, helping Barcelona secure maximum points with seven goals between the pair in the last two Liga games. Getafe will fancy their chances even though FC Barcelona remains favourites. Neymar and
Suarez both have a chance to add to their goal tally in the race to win the golden boot. Villareal will hope to get back to winning ways when they host a reviving Sevilla side at the El Magrigal.
Although, the Yellow Submarines started the season well, they have suffered two defeats in the last two league games and will hope to get that behind them as soon as possible. 8th placed Sevilla on the other hand started poorly but have recently improved to find themselves four points and three places behind Villareal on the table. Struggling Real Sociedad will host high flying Celta Vigo at the Anoeta after last weekend’s 4-0 away win at Levante. David Moyes’ team will need all three points to stay clear of the relegation zone. Sociedad is currently 15th with just three points above the relegation zone while Celta Vigo are fourth with one point behind third placed Athletico Madrid.
Top half of the table, Valencia will need all three points to stay in touch of a top four finish when they host Levante at the Mestella. Los Che have been inconsistent this season but will hope to get things right in the coming weeks. Sporting Gijon will welcome another La Liga struggling side, Malaga while Eibar will play to get maximum three points when they host Rayo Vallecano. A mid table clash between Real Betis and Athletico Bilbao will leave both teams depending on attacking form of Castro and Aduriz for points with the fixture between Espanyol and Granada left to thrill the La Liga BBVA fans.
Real Madrid is expected to pick maximum points against Las Palmas with both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona having tricky away matches to deal with. David Moyes will face a big test with Celta Vigo visiting after Real Madrid’s thrashing last weekend. In all, the bottom three of Las Palmas, Granada and Levante are expected to remain there for at least another week except they can pull off an impressive performance at the weekend.
Neymar has 8 goals to his name leading the Pichichi race and the Brazilian is closely followed by teammate, Luis Suarez with 7. Aduriz, Nolito and Cristiano Ronaldo all have 7 goals as well.
Sporting Gijon’s Lora and Villareal’s Roberto Soldado lead the assist ranking with 4 each. Real Betis’ Adan has made more saves than any other keeper in the league with 37 and followed by Carlos Kameni’s 30.
However, Keylor Navas of Real Madrid has 6 clean sheets leading Athletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak (5) and Carlos Kameni (4).