Madrid Derby the main focus of this weekend’s La Liga action

La Liga

After the previous round of fixtures where Real Madrid held off a Leganes fightback and Barcelona strolled past Sevilla, this weekend sees a potentially key fixture at the top of the table in the form of the Madrid Derby.

Elsewhere in the table, Valencia seem to be solidifying a mid-table finish and Osasuna picked up only their second win of the season against Alaves.

Villarreal vs Athletic Bilbao

The action kicks off on Friday with Villarreal against Valverde’s Bilbao, both of which will be looking to strengthen their position in the Europa League qualification places.

Aritz Aduriz continued his spectacular knack for goals against Espanyol in the previous fixture, netting twice. Aduriz has now scored 12 goals in La Liga, averaging a goal every 150 minutes.

Espanyol vs Alaves

A great season but a poor defeat for Alaves midweek against Osasuna, and Mauricio Pellegrino will be looking to put that right against an Espanyol side who are a real mixed bag this season. However, Espanyol will take confidence in the fact that they have only suffered defeat at home once, which came against Real Sociedad in February.

Real Madrid vs Atlético Madrid

After a mini scare when Leganes scored two in quick succession against a majorly rotated Madrid, Saturday afternoon’s mouthwatering fixture sees Diego Simeone’s side travel to the Santiago Bernabéu in a fixture that could have a lot of say regarding where the title ends up in May.

The previous meeting between the two sides was Real Madrid’s standout performance this season, on a day where Cristiano Ronaldo netted a hat-trick in a 3-0 win. A similar result on the weekend would be a real statement to Barcelona in the run in.

Sevilla vs Deportivo

The slide continues for Sampaoli’s side and three goals in eight first-half minutes against Barcelona now means Sevilla are winless in six games in all competitions.

The defeat to Barcelona looked tiring and they struggled to do anything with the ball for large parts of the first half. The improvement came second half but the game was too far gone. Jorge Sampaoli will also be without Vitolo who picked up a silly second yellow card in injury time.

For Deportivo, a point against Granada plugged the gap as Pepe Mel’s side avoided a third consecutive defeat. They now find themselves six points from the bottom three and adding to Sevilla’s woes may very well secure survival.

Malaga vs Barcelona

It was their first win in seven when Sandro scored the winner for Malaga, and they now sit eight points from the drop zone. He now faces his former club, who will be looking for their 4th straight win.

Malaga will take little comfort in knowing that Messi’s brace against Sevilla took his tally to 27 goals in La Liga (averaging a goal every 79 minutes) and 43 for the season, while Suarez has scored seven in his last seven appearances for the club.

Granada vs Valencia

The table is poor viewing for Granada. Winless in five, Granada have failed to drag other teams into the mix recently, and with only 26 goals all season – only Leganes have scored less with 25 – it’s difficult to see how anything will change this weekend against a Valencia side who have found the net six times in their last two games.

Celta Vigo vs Eibar

Iago Aspas’ 16th goal of the season wasn’t enough to secure the win for Celta Vigo, who lost for the first time in four games in all competitions on Thursday. Sunday will see them come up against an impressive Eibar who, with a win, could move into a European place after only one defeat in seven.

Osasuna vs Leganes

Playing for pride now, Osasuna will be looking for back to back wins for the first time when they take on Leganes on Sunday.

Leganes are themselves only one place outside the relegation zone, albeit with a slight cushion, but will take confidence from their recent form which has seen Asier Garitano’s side only lose once in six games, most recently a valiant effort against Real Madrid.

Las Palmas vs Real Betis

It hasn’t been the greatest spell of form for Las Palmas, but their recent fixtures have been full of action. Los Amarillos have scored 14 goals in their last six games, conceding 15. However, their ability to score has left them in a strong position heading into the final stretch.

While Las Palmas have been able to score, it seems only one man knows where the net is for Real Betis, as Rubén Castro’s ten goals is followed in the scoring charts by Antonio Sanabria on four.

No panic in this fixture as both sides have done enough to stay up for another year.

Real Sociedad vs Sporting Gijon

Without a win in four games now, Eusebio’s side have allowed Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao to overtake them in the league standings, with Real Sociedad themselves dropping out of the Europa League places.

However, only two points adrift of Villarreal, something has to give as the Yellow Submarine play Bilbao.

Sporting Gijon had a chance to build on draws against Sevilla and Valencia, as well as a win against Granada when they came up against Malaga, but Rubi’s side disappointingly came up short. A win could move Sporting only two points from safety.