La Liga Preview: Match-Day 7 sees Real Madrid playing catch-up

La Liga

Spanish football has not disappointed so far this season as there’s already been plenty of talking points from the opening six matches; including Barcelona’s 100% start, Real Madrid’s shaky performances and the struggles of Malaga.

Those story-lines will continue this weekend as we head into the latest batch of matches from Spain’s top-flight, as we bring September to a close and kick-off the month of October- which starts, unfortunately, with yet another international break.

With that poorly timed international break, clubs will want to secure a positive result beforehand to build upon in the coming weeks- so we should see some top games from Friday through to Sunday.

Celta Vigo v Girona (Friday, 20:00 BST)

Celta Vigo’s start to the season really depends on how you look at it; La Celeste are unbeaten in their last four La Liga matches but they have just seven points to their name, although they did smash four past a sorry Eibar side last time out.

Girona, meanwhile, have impressed in patches since their promotion but they’ve been unable to find the net in any of their last four league matches. They sit one point above the relegation zone, following last week’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Barcelona.

A victory for the hosts should be expected, which would ease the pressure on Juan Carlos Unzué’s side and give Girona plenty to think about.

Deportivo v Getafe (Saturday, 12:00 BST)

Deportivo have scored in five consecutive La Liga matches, only failing to find the net in their defeat to Real Madrid on the opening weekend, but they’ve been poor defensively- meaning they currently sit inside the bottom three, following four defeats already this season.

Getafe, on the other hand, will be pleased to their start to the season as they sit in mid-table. A 4-0 victory over Villarreal last time out proves the newly-promoted side are capable of fighting in this division, so they’ll expect to take points this weekend.

Both sides have had no trouble finding the net this season so you can expect goals. In the end though, it should be three points to Getafe.

Sevilla v Malaga (Saturday, 15:15 BST)

It’s all going well for Sevilla so far, as the Andalusian side sit third in the table and enter this weekend’s clash on the back of a 3-0 Champions League victory over Maribor. They’ll be looking to bounce back domestically though after their first defeat of the season last weekend against Atletico Madrid.

Malaga are really struggling this season and are one of only two sides in the division yet to secure a victory. A 3-3 draw against Athletic Bilbao last time out is their only point to date, whilst they also have the unwanted stat of having the second-worst goal difference in the league.

At home, Sevilla should be able to sweep aside Malaga and they’d be expected to win by a large margin.

Levante v Alaves (Saturday, 17:30 BST)

Levante usually find themselves hovering in the bottom half of the table in every La Liga season, so it’s refreshing to see them currently in the top-half of the division; with nine points out of a possible 18 so far this season.

Alaves, on the other hand, are rooted to the bottom of the table without a point to their name. Six successive defeats have been handed to last year’s Copa Del Rey finalists but a positive is they’ve only conceded more than two goals on one occasion.

With Levante entering the match on the back of a 4-0 drubbing against Real Betis, it’s a great opportunity for Alaves to kick-start their season- though a win may be a step too far.

Leganes v Atletico Madrid (Saturday, 19:45 BST)

Flying high in seventh position, just below Real Madrid, Leganes’ performance this season have been refreshing but they have only won one of their last four matches; with that win coming against Las Palmas last weekend.

Atletico Madrid are currently the closest side to league leaders Barcelona in the standings, sat four points behind Luis Enrique’s side, and are one of only three unbeaten sides in La Liga this season. It’s been a contrasting week though, with a fine victory over Sevilla followed by a last-gasp defeat to Chelsea in midweek.

Diego Simeone’s side should be able to continue their fine domestic start to the season here and we could now start to see the decline of Leganes.

Real Sociedad v Real Betis (Sunday, 11:00 BST)

After winning their opening three La Liga matches, Real Sociedad have plummeted down the standings following three consecutive defeats- although two of those were against Real Madrid and Valencia. Now, they’ll look to get back-on-track.

Real Betis are certainly a capable outfit though and they sit fifth in the standings, with 12 points to their name. They’ve enjoyed three consecutive wins, including a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid and last week’s 4-0 win over Levante.

Whilst the Basque side will hope to get something from the game, it could well be another three points for the visitors- raising the hopes of a push for European football.

Barcelona v Las Palmas (Sunday, 15:15 BST)

It was a turbulent summer for Barcelona but on the field everything has been fine, with Luis Enrique’s side winning all six of their La Liga matches so far and also winning their opening two Champions League matches.

That won’t fill Las Palmas with confidence for this weekend’s tie, especially as the side from the Canary Islands having lost two in quick succession. They did beat Athletic Bilbao a few weeks back though, although they won’t expect anything from this game.

Expect Barcelona to extend their winning run, putting them firmly in the driving seat for the La Liga title.

Villarreal v Eibar (Sunday, 17:30)

Villarreal have struggled to find consistency to start the new season and the Yellow Submarines enter this weekend’s hosting of Eibar on the back of an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at the hands of Getafe. They are capable though, shown by their victory over high-flying Real Betis earlier this month, so it’s a chance for them to kick-start their season.

Eibar are another side yet to really get going this season and they sit one point behind Villarreal. They’ve remarkably conceded ten goals in their past two matches, giving them the worst goal difference in the league.

With Eibar shipping goals, Villarreal will be confident but it could be a level playing field.

Valencia v Athletic Bilbao (Sunday, 17:30)

Valencia are one of three undefeated sides in La Liga this season and their chase for a Champions League return is going well, following two victories where they’ve scored eight goals in the process- which ended a run of three consecutive draws.

Athletic Bilbao have struggled to find that sort of consistency and are now four games without a win in all competitions at the time of writing. A 3-3 draw with Malaga last week shows their defensive frailties, which Valencia could expose.

It’s a crucial battle at the Mestella this weekend in the race for European football but it should be the hosts that secure a win, although a draw is possible.

Real Madrid v Espanyol (Sunday, 19:45 BST)

Real Madrid close this La Liga weekend with a hosting of Catalan side Espanyol and they’ll be looking to prove their worth having already dropped points against Real Betis, Valencia and Levante this season- putting them seven points behind Barcelona already.

Espanyol enter the game on the back of three matches unbeaten, including their 4-1 thrashing of Deportivo last week, and they’ll fancy their chances of securing a result. However, only three players have scored for them this season; Gerard Moreno, Leo Baptistao and Pablo Piatti.

It’s been difficult to predict Real Madrid results this season but they’ll be high on confidence after a 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in midweek.