LaLiga Santander returns from the international break this weekend with leaders Barcelona visiting third-placed Atletico Madrid,along with the prospect of some fresh starts and welcome friends-reunited stories.
Saturday’s game at Wanda Metropolitano should be one of the top events of 2018/19 so far, with current table-toppers Barcelona kicking off just one point ahead of hosts Atletico in what is shaping up to be the tight- est LaLiga Santander title race in decades.
In team news, Blaugrana captain, Lionel Messi showed no ill effects on his return from a broken arm in his team’s most recent league game while Atleto teenager,Francisco Montero could keep his place at centre-back given the injury issues within the Rojiblanco squad.
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Barça could well have dropped to second by kick off, assurprise package Alaves will jump to the top of the table should they win at Leganes in this evening’s game.
The two coaches at Butarque – Alaves’ Abelardo Fernandez and Leganes’ Mauricio Pellegrino know each other well; they were, of course, team mates at the Camp Nou during the 1998/99 season.
Saturday lunchtime sees Santiago Solari’s first game as Real Madrid’s new permanent head coach after picking up league wins over Valladolid and Celta Vigo as interim boss.
Another three points won’t be easy, however, given Eibar’s strong record at their tight Ipurua ground.The action then switches to Valencia, where a Los Che side still looking for their first home league win of 2018/19 welcome to Mestalla a 19th-placed Rayo Vallecano team in great need ofpoints.
20th-placed Huesca also really need a victory to kick-start their season but Saturday’s visitors to El Alcoraz Levante have won three of their six games on the road so far this term.Sunday lunchtime’s game brings together two other teams who will be aiming for a change of fortune after the international break, with Athletic Club hosting Getafe at San Mames.
Depending on results earlier in the weekend, Sevilla may have a chance to go top themselves by beating Valladolid on Sunday afternoon, although the visitors to the Sanchez-Pizjuan have lost only once on the road since returning to LaLiga Santander this season.