The weekend’s programme will finish with a fascinating encounter between second-placed Atlético and third-placed Málaga
The weekend’s programme will finish with a fascinating encounter between second-placed Atlético and third-placed Málaga, 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.
Atlético and Málaga defend unbeaten records
Diego Simeone’s Atlético 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 Málaga 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 Calderón on Sunday evening.
However, it’s been a disappointing week for Sevilla. Following on from Barça’s thrilling last-gasp win in the Sánchez Pizjuán 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 Atlético and Málaga, 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 and Valencia at the Ciudad de Valencia Stadium in Sunday's lunchtime game.