La liga Week 8 preview: Battle for supremacy by @zikson_b

The battle for supremacy will continue this weekend as the Primera Liga enters week 8 with just one point separating the top four teams. Real Madrid and Barcelona however will not be pleased with the current injury problem facing them while Villareal will once again be depending on Soldado and Baptistao to push them through.

The 8th week of Spanish Primera Liga will begin on a bright note when Real Madrid will try to move top of the table for at least 24 hours. Karim Benzema, Luka Modric , Sergio Ramos, Arbeloa, James Rodriguez, Carvajal and Pepe will all be missing when Real Madrid host Levante in the first match of the weekend. Rafael Benitez will have to dig deep and hope the fire power of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will be enough to see his team through after failing to get a win in the last two matches.

All eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo who has scored just once in the league although five goals were scored on that occasion. The Portuguese was presented with a record breaking fourth golden shoe during the week will have to step up in the absence of the team’s leading goal scorer, Benzema. Levante is 18th with just a win and three drawn matches which makes it more difficult for the visitors but Malaga’s result at the Bernabeu will be an encouragement for them.

Barcelona is still without Lionel Messi and will go all out against Rayo Vallecano after their recent loss to Sevilla. Vallecano will be visiting Barcelona with the Portuguese Bebe expected to play a key part after revealing his objectives for the season although Barcelona remains favourite for this clash. Barcelona, currently one point behind league leaders Villareal have struggled to keep opponents from scoring them in recent weeks with goal difference of 3 in the first 7 matches. Luis Enrique will have a lot to do in terms of defensive work with Rayo Vallecano coming to camp Nou full of confidence they can exploit the Catalan defence.

Malaga will hope to continue their resurrection when they visit Mestalla to face Valencia CF. Valencia, currently 9th on the table and will have their mind also set on UEFA Champions League fixture next week when they host Malaga. ‘Los Che’ have had an inconsistent start to the season and picking maximum points against Malaga will be a priority if they are to stay in touch with the top teams. Sevilla’s win over Barcelona propelled them to 12th place on the table and there is every possibility that must have added to their confidence with the team billed to travel to face high flying Eibar. Eibar is 7th with 12 points and have shown some good performances this season in the Liga. 10th place Espanyol will also visit 8th place Real Betis who will be relying on the impressive form of Ruben Castro to secure an important victory.

The biggest fixture of the weekend will be at the Estadio El Madrigal where league leaders, Villareal will welcome an impressive Celta Vigo side. Both teams failed to secure a win in their last Liga fixtures which makes this much more interesting. While Villareal will hope for the best from Roberto Soldado and Baptistao, Celta Vigo will have strong faith in Nolito and Aspas. 16th placed Real Sociedad has been inconsistent this season and recently lost to Malaga with their last home match ending in a goalless draw against Bilbao. The opportunity to get match day eight victory for their fans won’t come easy as they will welcome Diego Simeone’s Athletico Madrid to the Anoeta. However, 6th placed Deportivo La Coruna will host Athletic Bilbao while Las Palmas will visit Getafe in a bid to get off the relegation zone.

On Monday, Sporting Gijon will host 20th placed Granada.

Real Madrid will miss Benzema’s attacking contributions together with some other key players but the return of Gareth Bale may help them prove too strong for Levante with Barcelona also tipped to secure home win against Vallecano. It will be surprising to see Real Sociedad get maximum point but Athletico Madrid should get at least a point from Sociedad with Villareal and Celta probably ending in a draw going by the recent display of both teams.

Top scorer, Karim Benzema with 6 goals is ruled out of weekend’s clash leaving Cristiano Ronaldo with a chance to go top again.

Twitter: @zikson_b

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