Madrid, Sep 9 (IANS) Matchday five of La Liga gives no let-up for some of the big teams with European commitments, while two coaches’ jobs could well be on the line in the case of a heavy defeat.
The weekend begins on Friday night with newly-promoted Girona and Valladolid going head-to-head.
Saturday’s first game sees a much-changed Valencia visit Rayo Vallecano’s Vallecas Stadium.
Valencia have a totally different attitude to the team that looked to foul and time-waste their way to results last season under Jose Bordalas, and the positive attitude under new coach Gennaro Gattuso was evident as they thrashed Getafe 5-1 last weekend, reports Xinhua. Jose Luis Gaya is also back for Valencia after missing the start of the season through injury.
Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui survived a Board meeting after his side’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester City on Tuesday. That defeat followed a 3-0 loss to Barca, and with just one point from four games, it’s unlikely Lopetegui would keep his job if his side lost away to Espanyol on Saturday afternoon.
Cadiz are bottom of the table with no points, no goals and 10 goals against so far this campaign and their coach Sergio Gonzalez could also be in trouble in the case of another bad defeat.
Unfortunately for Sergio, Cadiz play at home to Barca, who are in sparkling early season form, with Robert Lewandowski seemingly unable to stop scoring.
Celta striker Iago Aspas has also had a flying start to the season, with five goals in four matches and Celta have a chance of taking something from their visit to face Atletico Madrid, who are getting results this season, without being entirely convincing in their performances.
Real Madrid will be without the injured Karim Benzema for their home game against Mallorca and Carlo Ancelotti will have to choose whether he replaces him with Eden Hazard (as he did against Celtic in midweek), Marco Asensio or Mariano Diaz.
Ancelotti will continue his policy of squad rotations against a side expected to sit deep and try to soak up Madrid’s pressure (which is easier said than done).
Sunday starts with Elche still trying for their first win of the season when they entertain Athletic Club Bilbao, whose unbeaten start to the season was ended last weekend by Espanyol. Ander Herrera is in line to start his first game for Athletic in eight years as coach Ernesto Valverde is expected to make some changes to his starting 11.
Getafe have just one point from four games and were very poor in Valencia last weekend and the team has to return to the solid football they showed last season against Real Sociedad, who could be tired after Thursday’s Europa League game away to Manchester United.
Villarreal are unbeaten and have yet to concede a goal this season ahead of their trip to play Betis. Betis played well against Real Madrid and it will be interesting to see how both sides juggle their team selections after European commitments on Thursday night.
The round of matches ends on Monday with Almeria seeking their second win of the season at home to a rugged Osasuna who are enjoying their best start to a season in over 40 years.