The La Liga title race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in recent seasons, and two of the biggest sides in the division go head to head this weekend. As well as that, there is an interesting fixture between two sides that would have been hoping for a top-four challenge, as the team’s around the domestic top flight in Spain will be hoping for big weekends in the pursuit of their season ambitions.
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona
The undoubted match of the weekend will see two of the best sides in the division go head to head in the Spanish capital. There will also be an extra dynamic on the game, as it will be the first time that Antoine Griezmann will return to the club where he enjoyed unprecedented success.
The jury is still out on the Frenchman’s time at the Nou Camp following making the £100 million move in the summer. He has scored four goals in 12 appearances in the league, and also scored his first goal for his new club in the Champions League on Wednesday night. However, the relationship between himself and the other two-star striker at the Nou Camp isn’t as strong as some were expecting it to be.
There will be pressure on the Frenchman on the weekend, and Barcelona will be hoping that he can have a significant say in the result of the game. Atletico, on the other hand, have struggled over recent weeks. They have won just once in four matches in all competitions.
Diego Simeone’s side comes into the game off the back of a Champions League defeat against Juventus. They currently sit in fourth place in the league and are three points behind Barcelona at the top of the league. It is hard to see them getting the win in this game, but they will be happy with a point.
Valencia vs Villarreal
Another interesting fixture in La Liga this weekend will see two of the sides that were expected to challenge for a top-four space go head to head. Neither of the sides have started the season very well at all, and they are already playing catch up with the leaders in the division.
Valencia are doing slightly better than their opponents, as they can blame draws for the fact that they aren’t higher in the league table. They have also been too easy to beat over the opening weeks of the season, as they have lost the most amount of games in the top half of the table- six. A win in this fixture would put them back in contention, but their defensive record is extremely poor after they have conceded 20 goals in their opening 14 fixtures.
There should be goals in this fixture because Villarreal also have an abysmal defensive record as they have conceded 22 goals. However, they have good attacking quality and have been able to find the net on 27 occasions already this season. The Yellow Submarine are playing catch up though and currently sit in the bottom half of the table.
It is difficult to predict which way this game could go as both sides are very inconsistent. However, Valencia will be looking to take advantage of their home advantage, and that could push them to victory.