By LaLiga Santander
When the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander schedule was released, Matchday Five immediately stood out as one of the tastiest, with many of the big guns playing each other and a couple of fascinating derbies to look forward to.
WATCH: The Centre Circle, a weekly EPL preview show by Tampines West CSC
Eibar will get things rolling again on Saturday (3 October), visiting Real Valladolid for a match with a few reunions. It will be a return to the Jose Zorrilla for current Eibar coach and former Blanquivioletas boss Jose Luis Mendilibar, a coach who will be fully aware of just how dangerous winger Fabian Orellana can be, after the Chilean moved between the two sides this summer.
After that competitive-looking opener to the weekend, Atletico Madrid will host Villarreal, also on Saturday afternoon. Each of the likely title challengers have tough fixtures this weekend and this is a prime example; Diego Simeone’s men failed to win this fixture last year, held to a 0-0 draw when the Yellow Submarine visited the Wanda Metropolitano. This time around, though, Atletico will feel extra confident since they now have the in-form Luis Suarez in their ranks.
Saturday evening sees two matches taking place simultaneously, with Real Sociedad hosting Getafe and Elche welcoming Huesca to the Martínez Valero. These are two fixtures with plenty of recent history as Sociedad and Getafe did battle for a Europa League place last season, a battle that was ultimately won by the Basque side at the last gasp. Elche and Huesca, meanwhile, are both newly-promoted sides with a lot to prove in these early stages of the season.
Valencia and Real Betis will meet at Mestalla under the Saturday night lights for a fixture that should deliver goals. Over the past three seasons, these two sides have produced 25 goals in eight league and cup fixtures, an average of 3.1 goals per game. It would not be a surprise if the scoreboard is busy once again, especially considering these sides have already been involved in some goalfests this season: Valencia were on fire in front of goal in a 4-2 derby win over Levante while Betis took defending champions Real Madrid all the way before falling 3-2 in the closing stages.
Osasuna and Celta Vigo have also been among the goals this campaign and they’ll square off on Sunday lunchtime, at the newly redeveloped El Sadar. Osasuna lost the first game at their ground since its reopening and they will hope to re-establish its reputation as a fortress sooner rather than later.
Sunday afternoon also throws up a couple of derbies, so cue the Adrenalina Puma football, a distinct, yellow-coloured ball used for high-profile matches this season with that extra injection of adrenaline. Alaves and Athletic Bilbao play out a Basque derby, while Cadiz and Granada will meet in an Andalusian derby down south.
Also in action on Sunday evening are last season’s top two: Real Madrid and Barcelona. Real, the defending champions, are on the road away at Levante, where they fell last season 1-0 thanks to a thunderous long-rage strike from Levante captain and talisman Jose Luis Morales – who has started the season in scintillating form.
As they say in Spain, this is a potential “partido trampa” – the term for a match that could turn out to be a banana skin for the favourites.
Rounding off the weekend’s action and sending LaLiga fans into the international break with their thirst for good football quenched will be Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona hosting Sevilla, a direct clash between two title challengers.
This early-season clash between big guns will see Ivan Rakitic return to the Camp Nou just weeks after completing his transfer to Sevilla. He will be hoping to lead his new side to victory against his former club, but will also be well aware of the size of the task.
The Andalusians have lost on each of their past 10 visits to the Camp Nou and have suffered time and time again at the hands of Lionel Messi. With 37 goals from 39 matches against Sevilla, no team has been on the end of the Argentinian’s frightening scoring ability more than the Andalusians.
Watch LaLiga Santander live this weekend on your local broadcasters.