Matchday 8 of LaLiga Santander comes at a crucial stage of the season, as league leaders FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, who are tied on 19 points, search for momentum ahead of their ElClasico showdown on October 16.
This weekend, the Catalan outfit host a dangerous RC Celta side, while Real Madrid make the short trip to Getafe CF’s Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, a stadium where Carlo Ancelotti’s side lost last season.
There are several other evenly-matched contests in Matchday 8 too, starting with CA Osasuna vs Valencia CF on Friday night. It’s a clash between the teams sitting sixth and ninth in the standings and both clubs have aspirations of qualifying for Europe. They’ve both enjoyed some success so far this season in their 4-3-3 set-ups, so it should be a very intriguing match in every sense.
The first of Saturday’s games is a duel between two clubs whose primary objective this season is to avoid relegation, but who are experiencing very different levels of success so far. It’s UD Almería vs Rayo Vallecano and the home side are desperate to bounce back after a run of four consecutive defeats. Rayo, on the other hand, are high on confidence after Unai López’s spectacular 95th-minute winner last time out.
Atlético de Madrid then face a side they’d probably rather avoid. Newly promoted Girona FC will return to the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano and they do so with an impressive history against Atleti, having drawn five and lost just one of their six meetings against the capital city side. Los Colchoneros have frustrating memories of facing Girona FC, but will hope their firepower of Álvaro Morata, Antoine Griezmann and João Félix is enough this time around.
Two of the teams currently on the LaLiga Santander podium then have difficult away fixtures on Saturday evening. Firstly, third-placed Athletic Club visit Sevilla FC and, even if the Andalusian side are struggling near the bottom of the table right now this will still be one of the toughest tests so far for Ernesto Valverde’s project.
Real Madrid are on the road too on Saturday night, although only a few kilometres to the south of Madrid. They’ll visit Getafe CF, aware that they lost 1-0 to an Enes Ünal goal when they made this trip last season. Keen to bounce back from last weekend’s draw with CA Osasuna and to build up some positive momentum ahead of ElClasico, Los Blancos will look to turn in a solid performance and take the three points.
There are several more interesting match-ups on Sunday, starting with Real Valladolid’s home match against Real Betis. Although these teams have very different objectives for this season, it’s Real Valladolid who come into this duel on the back of a win and Real Betis who suffered a loss last weekend. In front of their home fans, Pucela will aim to secure another positive result.
That’s what Cádiz CF will hope for too when they take on RCD Espanyol. After losing each of their first five games of the season, Cádiz CF have now collected four points from their past two matches and find themselves just one point behind this weekend’s opponents in the LaLiga Santander table. It’s also two consecutive clean sheets for Cádiz CF’s goalkeeper Jeremías Ledesma, who’ll set out for a third in a row.
Next comes a huge match in the quest to finish in the Champions League positions, as Real Sociedad take on Villarreal CF at the Reale Arena, with it always a fascinating tactical battle when former teammates Imanol Alguacil and Unai Emery are in the opposite dugouts. Interestingly, these teams beat each other once each last season, but both won the game when they were away from home.
League leaders FC Barcelona are in action in the 9pm CEST Sunday night kick-off and, like title rivals Real Madrid, they’ll hope to take victory because of the importance of the three points and so that they can maintain momentum ahead of ElClasico. RC Celta will be visiting the Camp Nou, so it’ll be a shootout between Robert Lewandowski and Iago Aspas, two of the top scorers in the competition at this early stage.
There’s one more Matchday 8 game on Monday night, with Elche CF kicking off the post-Francisco era at home to RCD Mallorca. With Los Franjiverdes bottom of the table, they have decided to change coach and will hope for a reaction against the islanders in what is already a crucial match for the bottom-placed side.