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Friday October 25 2019
Five things to watch in La Liga this weekend

El Clasico may be postponed for this weekend but there is no shortage of things to look out for in La Liga this weekend, writes Alex Fitzpatrick.

El Clasico cancelled…

Ok, so not so much something to watch out for this weekend but the biggest game of the football calendar had been scheduled to be played on Saturday, but will now not take place due to the social unrest in Barcelona. The match has been postponed due to fears of further unrest around Spain’s biggest fixture. Original suggestions for rescheduling centred around switching the clash to Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu, something which was viewed as an unwise symbolic move considering the political situation. The Spanish FA seem to have agreed a midweek date in December but La Liga are likely to be unhappy with their flagship game being pushed to a midweek slot. After the summer dispute over Monday games, it could see a return to court room once again.

…but Granada can move top

The absence of the top two this weekend leaves an opportunity for an unlikely league leader ten games in. Newly-promoted Granada continue their charge and a victory against troubled Real Betis will see them rise to the summit of La Liga. Los Verdiblancos plunged into the drop zone last weekend after defeat to Real Sociedad at the Anoeta. Rumours are already circulating around the future of Coach Rubi, and a further defeat this weekend could see yet another managerial casualty in La Liga.

Leganes v Mallorca

Leganes are rock bottom on two points and Coach Mauricio Pellegrino left Leganes by mutual consent this week ahead of this crunch clash against relegation rivals Real Mallorca. Los Pepineros are yet to appoint a new permanent Coach and will be rudderless for this six-pointer. Los Bermilliones will be buoyed by their shock victory over Real Madrid last weekend but will need to turn around their form on the road to survive. No points in their opening three away games this season follows a promotion campaign where they won only four times away from Son Moix.

Atletico or Athletic?

The Wanda Metropolitano will host the battle of the low scorers this weekend when Atleti take on Athletic Club. The teams have an identical goals record with both having scored just eight in nine games but have conceded a measly five. Diego Simeone is looking for goals to turn draws into wins. They have drawn four of their last five La Liga games, all but one of those draws being 0-0. Cholo will be hoping that his side can take advantage of the absence of the big two and draw level on points with Barca. At one of the toughest grounds in Spanish football, Athletic boss Gaizka Garitano will be aiming to cause an upset and break their run of four games without a win.

Villarreal v Alaves

The Yellow Submarine are on a roll and open the La Liga weekend in the Friday night game against Alaves. Unbeaten at Estadio de la Cerámica so far this season, Villareal have scored 13 goals in four games in the process. Their positive start means that Javier Calleja will be targeting a European spot for his side. They will need to maintain their strong home form if they are to do so as they have been more fragile on the road so far this season. For Alaves, their season is in danger of becoming a struggle against relegation. They have picked up only one point away from the Basque country and failed to score in four of their nine games.

Twitter: Alex Fitzpatrick

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