LA LIGA | WEEK 10
La Liga: Week 10 underway
A coastal derby between Villarreal and Valencia, Athletic versus Sevilla and whether or not Granada can pull off another shock top the billing.
Deportivo slumped to a third home loss of the season against Getafe in the Friday fixture. The visitor's potent counter-attack was enough to see off a Depor side that increasingly lacks cutting edge, or even a blunt one to prevent Fabricio from having to reach into his net. The Depor keeper was unlucky to turn in a rebounded shot from Getafe's exciting young Frenchman Karim Yoda, but Lafita's effort after the restart was too much for the home side. Helder Póstiga helped himself to a consolation with 10 minutes left but Getafe were savvy enough at the back to hold on for a win that left the southern Madrid side three points from the European spots overnight.
In Saturday's early kick-off, Granada is this week's rabbit in the Real Madrid headlights. Any side managed by Joaquín Caparrós are going to leave their sweat on the pitch, but whether that will be enough to prevent Carlo Ancelotti's side from recording their 11th consecutive victory remains to be seen. Granada did win this fixture two seasons ago and if anything else, the home side may scupper a few Quinigol coupons by keeping the score down; Caparrós' side have only conceded three at Los Cármenes.
Hot on Real's heels, in every sense, Atlético host Córdoba at the Calderón immediately afterwards with Diego Simeone's side looking to extend a run of three wins without conceding in the league and Europe since the Valencia loss a month ago. Córdoba are already in deep trouble and will happily take anything they can get from their trip to the capital.
Leaders Barcelona then welcome Celta in the 8pm match, which will reunite Luis Enrique with the side where he successfully auditioned for the big chair at Camp Nou. Both sides like to keep the ball on the deck and Celta have been entertaining again this season, scoring more goals than any team outside the top four and shipping almost as many. A bore draw seems extremely unlikely.
Real Sociedad and Málaga round off Saturday's action at Anoeta. The home side are in serious need of a decent result having won just once in nine attempts; a 4-2 hammering of Real Madrid that now seems an awfully long time ago. Málaga, meanwhile, also prefer evenings at home, winning just once on the road so far, although that was last weekend at Córdoba.
Athletic and Sevilla get the ball rolling on Sunday in the midday start. The Lions have spent more time on the menu than on the prowl since their stirring Champions League playoff victory over Napoli, picking up just two wins on the back of a paltry six goals. The return of Aritz Aduriz to lead the line has coincided with an upturn in fortune for Ernesto Valverde's side; four points from the last six on offer. Sevilla, though, are the in-form side, second in the league and with three wins on the road already.
A coastal derby clash awaits in the 5pm kick-off, with Valencia seeking to rediscover the groove of the early exchanges at the expense of eighth-placed Villarreal. Valencia are keeping pace at the top but Nuno Espírito Santo will need to eradicate the memory of the last time Valencia left the safety of home, when they were mugged 3-0 by Depor.
Rock-bottom Levante have mustered one win and four goals for their efforts so far this campaign, and have conceded a whopping 23 – only Real Madrid have scored more at the other end. The visit of Almería should be a tantalizing one but for the bizarre statistic that Francisco Rodríguez's side have picked up two-thirds of their points tally away from home, and haven't yet won at the Juegos Mediterráneos. It's a little early for a six-pointer, but Levante face Sevilla and Valencia next.
Elche host Espanyol in Sunday's last game, with the home side not yet replicating the up-and-at-'em formula that secured a second season in the top flight. Espanyol have inched their way up into mid-table unspectacularly, but Sergio González's team will fancy their chances of a first away win in the Martínez Valero.
Rayo and Eibar round things off in Vallecas on Monday evening, in what should be an open, end-to-end encounter between two teams who have fully embraced attack as the best form of defence.