The eyes of the world were on the La Liga fixture generator when the schedule for the 2018/19 season was released in the summer and most of them were looking for this weekend in particular. Sunday throws up the first Clásico of the season between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou with most people expecting a tussle between Spain’s top two.
However, with Los Blancos out of form and Julen Lopetegui under fire and top of the table Barça far from convincing, it may be one of the most unpredictable match-ups in recent years. As well as that, we have two of the league’s in-form sides go head to head in Valladolid on Friday night as Real Valladolid play host to Espanyol. Here’s your look at this weekend’s selection of Spanish football.
The Big One
Despite the shortcomings of Real Madrid so far this season, the Clásico is still considered the biggest football match on the planet. Unfortunately for the neutral viewers, it will be without its two shining stars for the last decade. Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Juventus in the summer while Lionel Messi will miss out with a broken arm. It will be the first meeting between the two gigantic clubs without them for over 10 years.Embed from Getty Images
Julen Lopetegui seems to have survived another week in the Real Madrid hotseat with many believing that this game will decide his future, at least until the weekend after. A poor performance at the Camp Nou and an inevitable loss would make Florentino Pérez’s decision very easy and give him a good excuse to sack the former Spain boss. Even though both teams aren’t fighting it out for the title currently and even though they’re missing their greatest players off all time, this still feels like a typical Clásico full of controversy, genius and significance.
One to Watch
The Estadio José Zorrilla’s lights will be lit on Friday night for what should be a spectacular match-up between the league’s two in-form sides. Real Valladolid, who have won 4 games on the spin and moved above Real Madrid, face an Espanyol side who sit in 2nd after 3 wins in their last 4 games.Embed from Getty Images
It’s been quite the turnaround for Valladolid, who had failed to score in their first 4 games before Brazilian legend Ronaldo took over ownership of the club. Since then, they’ve been unbeaten in 5 games, winning each of their last 3 by a 1-0 scoreline. Despite this lack of goals, the game should be unmissable and could move Espanyol into 1st place heading into the weekend.
Manager on the Brink
Sadly, La Liga may be losing its most stylish manager very soon. Celta Vigo are winless in their last 6 games, drawing 3 and losing 3, under new manager Antonio Mohamed. The Argentinian took over the reins in the summer after 3 successful years at Mexican side Monterrey.Embed from Getty Images
Celta host an Eibar side that have picked up 7 points from a possible 9 in recent weeks, so the future looks bleak for Mohamed. However, the Galician club have beaten their Basque counterparts on each of Eibar’s last two visits to Balaídos.