It's back to Liga action after the Copa midweek with Santiago Solari looking to bring some joy to the Bernabéu and Barça seeking to extent their lead.
Leganés – Atlético (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: draw
The last two games between the former neighbours in Butarque since the Cucumber Growers arrived in Primera have ended 0-0 and Atlético have hardly been banging them in for fun this season, scoring only once in six games so far. Leganés’ home form has been pretty solid, knocking off Barça included, and a draw shouldn't be ruled out in this week’s opener despite the 14 places separating the sides in the table.
Real Madrid – Valladolid (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: home win
Real Madrid are still awaiting a permanent manager but Santiago Solari will be on the receiving end of plenty of goodwill in the Bernabéu simply because he is not Julen Lopetegui. Starting Vinicius paid off against lower-division opposition in Melilla and the Brazilian may be in the XI again with Mariano out. Valladolid are three places better off than the hosts and have conceded half the number of goals the European champions have shipped while remaining unbeaten on the road but you just fancy Real’s woeful Liga run departed stage left with their luckless former manager.
Valencia – Girona (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: home win
Marcelino’s side have drawn every one of their home games so far this season and while Girona are unbeaten on the road they don’t bother opposition keepers often enough outside Montilivi. Cristhian Stuani and Portu - who have accounted for 10 of their side’s 12 league goals this season - are both out for the trip to Mestalla while Marcelino can finally call on the talismanic Gonçalo Guedes again. Even from the bench that should provide enough lift for Valencia to keep the white hankies safely pocketed.
Rayo – Barcelona (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: away win
A selection of results from this fixture reads 0-7, 0-5, 0-4, 1-5 and taking into account the last 10 meetings between these sides in Primera the aggregate score is 47-5 in Barça’s favour. Fresh from thrashing Real Madrid 5-1 in the Clásico, we need say no more.
Eibar – Alavés (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: away win
Set-piece specialists with seven goals this season from training ground moves, Alavés haven’t lost in Ipurua since a Segunda División encounter in 2014 and these have always been low-scoring affairs since both found their way up to Primera, the highest tally coming in the Gunners’ 2-1 win in Vitoria last season. The other three games have ended 0-0 (twice) and 0-1 to Alavés in the most recent fixture last April. The same score line on Saturday looks a half-decent bet with El Glorioso a point off the top of LaLiga.
Villarreal – Levante (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: draw
Four wins on the bounce for the Frogs and the same number without a victory for the hosts has left Javi Calleja’s Submarine just a point off the drop zone and Paco López’s side just three off the Champions League spots. It’s been seven years since Levante got a point out of the regional derby at the Cerámica and if they manage to do so on Sunday it could be curtains for Calleja.
Real Sociedad – Sevilla (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: away win
Sociedad are still to win a game in the revamped Anoeta and face the second-highest scoring side in the division in a stadium where Asier Garitano’s team have managed a paltry three in four games. The absence of Mikel Oyarzábal robs La Real of most of their creativity while Sevilla have an abundance in their starting XI and from the bench, as 18 goals in their last six Liga games attests.
Huesca – Getafe (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: draw
Getafe have been formidable on the road, only losing to Real Madrid outside the Coliseum on the opening weekend of the season. Under Francisco Huesca have shown signs of an upturn and remain difficult to break down – an 8-2 drubbing by Barcelona aside – and given their run of two points from nine games the home side will be happy enough to shut up shop against a dangerous opponent and grind out a goalless draw as they aim to avoid being cut adrift at the foot of the table before Christmas.
Betis – Celta (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: draw
This one really could go either way with Betis struggling to carve out results with their three-at-the-back system and Celta ending their own dismal run with a four-goal mauling of Eibar last time out after failing to secure three points since September 1. A few goals are on the cards in the Villamarín with the spoils shared at not particularly long odds.
Espanyol – Athletic (Monday 21:00) Prediction: home win
Only four sides have won a single game this season – the bottom two, Valencia and Athletic, with the Lions’ sole success coming on the opening day of the season. Espanyol boast a perfect home record and Athletic have proved equally incapable of holding on to a lead or chasing a tight game in recent weeks, losses to Villarreal and Sociedad punctuating a run of seven draws.