First vs Last at the Bernabeu

With their interest in the Cup at an end, leaders Real Madrid face bottom club Zaragoza at the
Bernabeu on Saturday. After winning 0-6 in the La Romareda in their opening league game and
with Zaragoza without a win on the road so far this season, Madrid are obviously favourites, but
Mourinho won’t have forgotten last year’s game, when Zaragoza won 2-3. Barça’s next Cup
opponents, Valencia, are 14 points adrift of Madrid and with the Cup perhaps their only realistic
chance of a trophy, it will be interesting to see if Emery rests players ahead of Wednesday’s
game when his team visit Racing on Sunday. The hosts have taken 11 points from their last five
games and hauled themselves out of the bottom three, whilst Valencia have managed just five
points from the last 15 on offer.

Pressure building on Levante

Levante have yet to win a league game in 2012 and after being knocked out of the Cup by
Valencia midweek, they will hope to put that right on Sunday when they entertain Getafe, whilst
Espanyol, closing in on Levante, now just three points behind, are at home to Mallorca after
their shock Cup exit at the hands of part timers Mirandes on Tuesday. The fourth Cup semi-
finalist, Athletic Bilbao, are also pressing Levante hard and with just a single defeat in their
last six league games, they will be aiming to keep up that pressure when they travel to Rayo
on Saturday. Bilbao are a point behind Osasuna and level with Atletico Madrid, who meet in
Pamplona on Monday night, when Osasuna’s Raul Garcia, on loan from Atletico, will face a
strange situation and he explained: “I’ll be defending Osasuna’s colours, but I know I belong to

Seville and Malaga need to end bad runs

Seville and Malaga are immediately below Atletico and they meet on Sunday night at the
Rosaleda. Seville this week finalised the loan of ex-Barça man Martin Caceres to Juventus and
brought back the on-loan Cala from AEK Athens, as they attempt to put their bid for a European
spot back on track after just two points from their last five games, whilst Malaga are also on a
bad run, with no win in their last six.

Abel makes debut at Betis

With Racing, Villarreal and Zaragoza facing a tough weekend, Sporting (19th on 18 points) could
make up ground when they travel to Anoeta to face Real Sociedad, who themselves are sitting
just three points ahead of Manolo Preciado’s team and perhaps still reeling from last weekend’s
thrashing by Atletico Madrid. Granada are just a point ahead of Sporting and are involved in the
Sunday noon game, when new boss Abel Resina has the chance to make his mark when his
team travel to Andalucia neighbours Betis.

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