The second round of games in La Liga gets under way with four games on Saturday night, Barça, Madrid and Valencia all play on Sunday and Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao close the weekend at 10 on Monday night
In the weekend’s opening fixture, Real Sociedad will be looking to put last week’s thrashing at the Camp Nou behind them, when they play their first home game of the campaign against another team who started with defeat last weekend, newly promoted Celta. Two hours later, two more teams without a point so far meet at El Prat-Cornella, when Espanyol host Zaragoza with new signing Simao likely to figure at some points for the hosts. Betis are the league’s joint leading scorers after their five goals in Bilbao last week and the fans at the Benito Villaramin Stadium will be looking for more when Pepe Mel’s team take on Rayo, also at nine. Finally, at eleven on Saturday, Malaga take on Mallorca, with Pellegrini’s team fresh from their Champions League success and Caparros looking to build on last week’s opening win against Espanyol.
Getafe boss warns Madrid
Barça kick off proceedings on Sunday, with the game in Pamplona set for seven in the evening, whilst at nine Real Madrid, who could welcome back Pepe, are at Getafe and Seville at Granada. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored eight goals in his last five games against Getafe - all of them ending in wins for Madrid, but after last week’s defeat in Seville, Luis Garcia’s team need to start getting points on the board and the Getafe boss insisted: “there’s no expectation on us to win, but we will be trying to – they lost games last season and maybe they will lose one here this year”.
Valencia warm up for Camp Nou trip
Seville also play at nine, making the short trip to Andalucian neighbours Granada before Valencia close the day’s proceedings with a home game against Deportivo. Valencia sealed the signing of the French full back Aly Cissokho from Lyon this week and made their intentions for this year’s campaign clear with their 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu. With next week’s trip to the Camp Nou on the horizon, Valencia will be looking for a positive start at home against Deportivo, whose coach José Luis Oltra warned: “to take points from Mestalla, you have to score at least once and if you want to win, you need at least two, so I can’t tell my players to go out and play defensively on Sunday night”.
Atletico and Athletic in Europa Cup Final re-run
Levante look to have booked a place in the Europa League proper with their 0-2 win over Motherwell in the qualifying round midweek and they will be hoping to build on their opening day 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid when they visit Valladolid on Monday evening. Atletico themselves close the weekend’s action with a re-run of last season’s Europa League Final, when Bilbao visit the Vicente Calderon. The Basques, still without the out of favour Llorente and Javi Martinez, come into the game on the back of a 6-0 midweek Europa Cup qualifying win over Helsinki (making it 9 goals scored and 5 conceded in their first two official games), whilst Atletico know they have the European Super Cup Final against Chelsea, just four days later.