Atletico Madrid’s were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday and next Wednesday they face Seville in the Spanish Cup with a spot in the final at stake. Meanwhile, on Sunday, they defend their 100% home record against the in-form Espanyol, who’ve lost just one of their last five away games (against Barça at the Camp Nou). With a season defining 10 days ahead of them that includes two games against Barça and a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United, Real Madrid travel to La Coruña on Saturday to face bottom side Deportivo without the rested Xabi Alonso and Benzema and the suspended Sergio Ramos.
Real take last ever San Mames derby
Bilbao and Real Sociedad kicked off the weekend’s action with the Basque derby on Friday, with Real winning 1-3 to boost their European ambitions and deepen Bilbao’s relegation fears. The win – in the last ever Basque derby to be played at the soon to be demolished San Mames - takes Phillipe Montanier’s team up to fifth, on 40 points, whilst Bilbao (26 points) will have a nervous weekend with one eye on the results of Osasuna(25) and Zaragoza(24) just below them. Bilbao took the lead on the half hour, but Griezman equalised soon afterwards and Agirretxe and Vela got the second half winners.
Zaragoza need some luck
Osasuna don’t play until Monday night when they visit Spain’s only remaining representative in the Europa League, Levante, whilst Zaragoza are at home to Valencia on Saturday. Valverde’s side will be looking for their fifth straight win on the road and the chance to leapfrog Malaga, who play on Sunday, into fourth spot, but Zaragoza are desperate for their first win of the year, with their boss Manolo Jimenez lamenting: “we’ve had no luck at all. We’ve gone a lot of games when we’ve deserved more, but there have been decisions that went against us, injuries and, well that’s football”.
Betis host Malaga
After two successive away wins- at Mallorca and Levante – Malaga travel to Betis on Sunday night, with the chance to seriously damage what until a few weeks ago looked to be a serious rival for a top four place. Betis have now gone five games without a win and lost three of their last four to slip down to eighth.
Manzano “just looking for a win”
At the bottom, Celta and Mallorca both have home games to try and kick start their scramble for safety. Mallorca(18 points) are at home to Getafe and their boss Gregorio Manzano insists: “we are just thinking about a win. If we do things right, we will win, I am convinced of that. The players have to know that the mental block they’ve had and worrying about the bad run we are on are not the way forward for us”. Celta (20 points)host the improving Granada who have lost just once in their last four games on the road and last time out beat Celta’s neighbours Deportivo 0-3.