Madrid, Oct 6 (IANS) Matchday eight in La Liga comes with several sides left with plenty of work to do in order to ensure their European futures, while others could be able to focus their full attention on domestic matters.
The round of games kicks off on Friday as Osasuna, fresh from ending Real Madrid’s 100 percent start to the season, entertain Valencia. Valencia have yet to win an away game, while Osasuna are without suspended central defender David Garcia, reports Xinhua.
Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are all in action on Saturday, but while Real Madrid will be able to focus everything on La Liga after Wednesday’s 2-1 win at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla and Atletico have plenty of work still to do.
Real Madrid make the short trip south to play Getafe and coach Carlo Ancelotti will be looking for a bit more bite in attack after a draw against Osasuna and the narrow win against Shakhtar.
Sevilla are likely to have confirmed Jorge Sampaoli as their new coach after sacking Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday night in the wake of their 4-1 defeat at home to Borussia Dortmund.
Sampaoli returns to a club that has five points from 21 in La Liga and just one point from nine in the Champions League.
Athletic Bilbao will provide a stiff test for Sampaoli’s debut, with the Basques travelling after three consecutive wins that have lifted them to third in the table thanks to their vibrant attacking football.
Atletico Madrid also have a lot of work to do in Europe and that could condition the side Diego Simeone fields in Girona. Antoine Griezmann is likely to start for Atletico, but Simeone loses Marcos Llorente to a muscle injury he suffered in the 2-0 loss to Club Brugge in midweek.
Saturday also sees Almeria at home to Rayo Vallecano, with the home side looking to end a run of four games without a point or a goal since the departure of Umar Sadiq to Real Sociedad.
FC Barcelona’s injury problems got worse in midweek as they added Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen to an injury list already including Ronald Araujo, Memphis Depay, Hector Bellerin and Jules Kounde.
Frenkie de Jong should be fit and could play in defense for the home game against Celta Vigo, whose striker Iago Aspas has constantly caused Barca problems in recent meetings.
Real Betis need to recover from last weekend’s defeat to Celta, but will be without the suspended Felipe after his red card last weekend. It will be interesting to see what Thursday’s Europa League tie away to Roma takes out of Betis’ legs in Sunday’s visit to Valladolid.
Cadiz have tightened up in defense in recent games and entertain Espanyol, who need to sort out doubts in goal if they are to improve on a slow start to the campaign.
Real Sociedad and Villarreal both have to recover from European action on Thursday night before their league clash. Real Sociedad are at a disadvantage as they have a long trip to Moldova, while Villarreal are at home to Austria Vienna.
The last game of matchday seven is on Monday with bottom of the table Elche, who still have to name a replacement for Francisco Rodriguez, at home to Mallorca.