Spanish League Preview – Week 7

Atlético Madrid - FCB / PHOTO: ARCHIVE -FCB
The weekend’s programme will finish with a fascinating encounter between second-placed Atletico and third-placed Malaga

The weekend’s programme will finish with a fascinating encounter between second-placed Atletico and third-placed Malaga, two teams that have started well in Europe and stayed in touch at the top of the league table despite Barça’s blistering start to the campaign.

Meanwhile, at the bottom end of the table, there’s a Basque derby between Athletic Club Bilbao and Osasuna, while Espanyol go to Valladolid still looking for their first win of the season.

Atletico and Malaga defend unbeaten records

Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid have made an explosive start to the 2012 season, conceding only one draw in six league matches and winning both of their Europa League matches. Similarly, Manuel Pellegrini has taken Malaga to unaccustomed highs in la Liga and the Champions League, where they lead Group C with two wins in two matches. Both sides will be defending an unbeaten record when they meet in the Vicente Calderon on Sunday evening.

However, it’s been a disappointing week for Sevilla. Following on from Barça’s thrilling last-gasp win in the Sanchez Pizjuan last weekend, they conceded a 2-0 defeat away to newly promoted Celta on Friday evening.

Espanyol still searching for a win

With just the one point separating them in the bottom third of the table, both Rayo and Deportivo will be looking for all three points when they kick off Saturday’s fixtures at 4 pm local time. Much the same applies to the matches between Zaragoza and Getafe, and Betis v Real Sociedad. However, just six games into the league campaign, there’s an air of crisis floating over the match between Valladolid and Espanyol. A win for the home side could take them into the European places and, after hitting six past Rayo last weekend, confidence is high in Valladolid. The situation couldn’t be more different in the Espanyol camp, with the Barcelona club having taken just one point from a possible 18, the worst start in the club’s history.

Exciting finish on Sunday

Apart from ‘The Clásico’ and the top-of-the-table showdown between Atletico and Malaga, Sunday’s programme of five matches features a bottom of the table clash between Bilbao and Osasuna. Meanwhile, Mallorca will try and consolidate fourth place in the table when they receive Granada. Finally, there’s a Valencian derby between Levante.