By LaLiga Santander
Matchday Nine of the LaLiga Santander season will have a distinctly Valencia taste, with the round of matches both kicking off and finishing up in Spain’s eastern province. Valencia vs Real Madrid will conclude this weekend’s action on Sunday night and, given what happened at Mestalla last weekend and the result of this fixture last season, it promises to be a game packed with entertainment.
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But first up, kicking off the round of matches will be Elche vs Celta Vigo, a clash of teams from opposite sides of the country. Celta will make the long trip east in search of much-needed points without a win in six and will come up against a newly-promoted side full of confidence after a bright start to the season.
The first fixture up on Saturday is Huesca vs Eibar, a match which could be a very Japanese affair. For the first time ever, there could be three Japan internationals involved in the same LaLiga match, with Huesca’s Shinji Okazaki going up against the visitors’ Takashi Inui and Yoshinori Muto.
Up next is Barcelona welcoming Real Betis to the Camp Nou for a match of many reunions. Los Verdiblancos’ Claudio Bravo, Marc Bartra, Juan Miranda, Martin Montoya and Cristian Tello all used to call the Camp Nou home, while Barça’s Junior Firpo and Carles Alena have played for Real Betis in the very recent past. As soon as the ball gets rolling, though, all thoughts will turn to targeting the three points, especially for the Catalan club who come into the game on the back of four LaLiga matches without victory.
Sevilla have also failed to win any of their past four league outings and they will be looking to put that right when they play at home to Osasuna on Saturday evening. Then, on Saturday night, there’s yet another Andalusian team in action as high-flying Cadiz visit Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital. Considering that Cadiz just became the first-ever newly-promoted side to win their first four away games of a season without conceding a single goal, Atletic cannot afford to take this game lightly.
An action-packed Sunday follows with five fixtures, the first of which is Getafe vs Villarreal. This was a very fiery game last season in which four players were sent off in stoppage time as the Yellow Submarine won 3-1 at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. There’s no question that Getafe will be out for revenge this time around.
Next up are leaders Real Sociedad entertaining Granada. This is matchup between the teams who finished sixth and seventh last season and two of LaLiga’s representatives in the Europa League. Any talk of fatigue following European action in midweek will be put to one side, however, and a closely fought match between two of LaLiga Santander’s in-form sides can be expected.
On Sunday evening, there are two concurrent matches as Levante host Alaves and Real Valladolid welcome Athletic Bilbao. These are two really important matches for the home teams considering Levante and Valladolid are both inside the relegation zone as things stand. They need to get points on the board soon and will hope to start this Sunday.
Then on Sunday night, Matchday Nine reaches its conclusion with a blockbuster match. Valencia vs Real Madrid is a classic LaLiga fixture and has been a very competitive one in recent times too. Over the past 10 years, the head-to-head record stands at eight Real Madrid wins, seven draws and three Valencia wins. Last season, for example, this fixture ended in a 1-1 draw with incredible drama, with Real Madrid equalising in stoppage time thanks to a Karim Benzema goal assisted by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who was up for a corner.
That was a wild finish to a match, just like Valencia’s home game against Getafe last Sunday night when both sides scored in stoppage time in a 2-2 draw, with Carlos Soler converting a 100th-minute penalty to earn Los Che their point. It’s never boring when Valencia play a huge match at Mestalla under those Sunday night lights and it surely won’t be this weekend when Real Madrid are in town.
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