LaLiga Santander preview: Football returns with all eyes on Atletico vs Barça

·4-min read
Barcelona's Lionel Messi will be facing rivals Atletico Madrid in Matchday 10 of the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander season. (PHOTO: LaLiga Santander)
Barcelona's Lionel Messi will be facing rivals Atletico Madrid in Matchday 10 of the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander season. (PHOTO: LaLiga Santander)

By LaLiga Santander

The November international break was a triumphant one for Spanish football and now LaLiga football is back with one of the biggest fixtures in the world taking centre stage on Saturday night (21 November), as Barcelona travel to the Wanda Metropolitano to take on Atletico Madrid.

But that’s not the only huge fixture; Villarreal vs Real Madrid means that this weekend will see two matches between last season’s top five.

INFOGRAPHIC: LaLiga Santander
INFOGRAPHIC: LaLiga Santander

It all gets under way on Friday night with Osasuna vs Huesca, with the visitors still searching for their first win of the season. They haven’t been bad and have six points from their league-leading six draws, but Míchel will be determined to return to Aragon with a three-point haul from this Friday night clash.

Saturday gets going with a regional derby as two sides from the Valencia region meet when Levante host Elche at their newly redeveloped Ciutat de Valencia stadium. Having failed to win in their past six matches, Levante really need a win, but it won’t be easy against an Elche team that has been a surprise package so far this season, taking 11 points from their first seven games.

The focus then stays in the Valencian Community for Villarreal’s match against Real Madrid. Unai Emery’s side were really starting to click just before the international break, winning four in a row across all competitions, while Real Madrid fell to a 4-1 loss at Valencia just before the pause.

Considering that Los Blancos have several absences for this weekend’s trip, manager Zinedine Zidane will have quite a puzzle to solve.

On Saturday evening, it’s Sevilla vs Celta Vigo, and this will be the first match for the latter’s new coach Eduardo “Chacho” Coudet. The Argentinian was hired to replace Oscar Garcia during the international break and all associated with the Galicians will be hoping he can jumpstart this team.

Then comes the blockbuster match of the weekend: Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona in the Spanish capital on Saturday night, a fixture with major title race implications.

Atletico sit on 17 points after seven matches, already six points ahead of the Blaugrana. Sadly, there won’t be a Luis Suarez and Barça reunion since the striker tested positive for COVID-19 while on international duty, but Joao Felix is in excellent form and will be looking to make a statement against Lionel Messi and co. with fans around the world watching on.

Sunday’s action begins with Eibar hoping to end their poor home form against Getafe. The Basque side have the worst home record in the division with two points from five games at Ipurua and will aim to end that against a hot and cold Getafe side.

Cadiz, meanwhile, have the second-worst home record with two points from four matches – yet at the same time one of the best away records in the divisions – and will similarly be seeking a first home win of the year when they host league leaders Real Sociedad.

Granada and Real Valladolid meet in the Sunday evening fixture and the home side have their coach Diego Martínez back in the dugout after he had to miss the most recent matches after a positive COVID diagnosis. They’ll be taking on a Valladolid side full of confidence after they just secured their first win of the season on Matchday 9.

Valencia, who defeated Real Madrid last time out, will look to build on their recent boost when they visit Alaves. It won’t be easy, especially given Los Che’s recent record at the Mendizorrotza: they’ve failed to win on their past three visits and will be faced with an Alaves side unbeaten in three, in their best form of the season.

The round’s action then concludes with a very attractive fixture: Athletic Bilbao vs Real Betis at San Mames on Monday night. Two historical heavyweights of the Spanish top flight, two teams with European aspirations. They’re also the only two sides yet to have drawn in LaLiga Santander so far this season, so an exciting match is on the cards. Tuning in to find out who does so will be the perfect way to round off this spectacular weekend of Spanish football.

INFOGRAPHIC: LaLiga Santander
INFOGRAPHIC: LaLiga Santander

Watch LaLiga Santander live this weekend on your local broadcasters.