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La Liga 2023-24: Barca meet Atletico in huge game in another fascinating weekend (preview)

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La Liga 2023-24: Barca meet Atletico in huge game in another fascinating weekend (preview)

Girona are next into action with their second home game in a week following Monday’s 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Club Bilbao that saw them slip behind Real Madrid at the top of the table on goal difference, reports Xinhua.

Artem Dovbyk is a doubt for the game against Valencia after suffering a calf injury shortly before Monday’s draw, while Valencia could be without captain Jose Gaya.

Fifth place Athletic Club take on Rayo Vallecano in what promises an entertaining game at San Mames. Both teams like to play attacking football with a high press, with the pace of Inaki and Nico Williams, who appears to be close to announcing a new contract with the club, Athletic’s biggest threat.

Alexander Medina faces the prospect of a difficult managerial debut as he takes second-from-bottom Granada to play Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. Medina replaces Paco Lopez, who was sacked earlier in the week.

Real Madrid have a long injury list, but with Jude Bellingham continuing to inspire, they shouldn’t have many problems against a rival that has conceded 33 goals in 14 matches.

Saturday’s last game is a Basque derby between Osasuna and Real Sociedad. Real Sociedad were able to rest several key players.

Barcelona’s meeting with Atletico Madrid is the weekend’s standout match and confidence has returned to Barca after their 2-1 win over Porto that saw them into the last-16 of the Champions League.

Atletico look to be the perfect rival to see if that new-found confidence is justified or not, with Diego Simeone’s side one place above Barca in La Liga and with Antoine Griezmann in outstanding form.

The bad news for Atletico is they have lost impressive young midfielder Pablo Barrios for several months with a torn meniscus ligament.

Mallorca are still in trouble after a 1-1 draw at home to Cadiz on Wednesday, and defeat to a buoyant Alaves could see Javier Aguirre’s side drop into the bottom three if Celta Vigo win their home game against Cadiz (who haven’t won in three months) on Monday night.

Bottom of the table Almeria look for their first win of the season at home to an in-form Betis, with Almeria coach Gaizka Garitano in danger of losing his job if his side loses a sixth consecutive game under his charge.

There will also be tension when Sevilla entertain Villarreal and while Villarreal look to be recovering since the arrival of Marcelino Garcia Toral (who has coached Sevilla), the home side is in crisis after surrendering a 2-0 lead at home to PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday to crash out of the Champions League after a 3-2 defeat.

Coach Diego Alonso’s only win at Sevilla came in the Copa del Rey against sixth-tier opposition and he has Sergio Ramos and Jesus Navas both suspended for a game Sevilla have to win if Alonso wants to save his job – that is if he survives until Sunday.

–Ajit Weekly News

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News Credits – I A N S

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