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David Villa / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

There’s a basement battle at El Prat this weekend when Osasuna visit Espanyol, whilst fellow strugglers Granada kicked off the action on Friday with a shock 1-2 win at Betis.

Espanyol out to confirm upturn

Espanyol are on something of a roll right now, having gone four games without defeat, and they have an excellent chance to reaffirm their improvement on Saturday when bottom club Osasuna visit El Prat. Despite having lost all five games on the road so far – scoring twice and conceding 11 times, Osasuna’s Catalan full back Damia still reckons: “we can win this game, I’m sure. It’s a big match, but there are still plenty of games to go”. The Basques will be without the injured Nino, Lamah, Marc Bertrán, Puñal and Masoud, whilst Pochettino welcomes back from suspension Victor Sanchez and Forlin.

Granada shock Betis

Granada lifted themselves above Espanyol with a surprise win at fourth place Betis on Friday night – maybe an omen for Osasuna as it was Juan Antonio Anquela’s team’s first away win of the season. Real Sociedad sit a point ahead of Espanyol on 10 and face a tough trip to Malaga and with just one point from their last 12 and still without a win on the road, they will have to face Pellegrini’s side, fresh from European glory, without their main striker Antoine Griezmann.

Deportivo and Celta are both down on 10 points and they also face tricky away games at Zaragoza and Rayo respectively.

Atletico look to bounce back

At the top, Atletico Madrid will need to bounce back from two defeats last week, after going down to Academica in the Europa Cup on Thursday when they face Getafe in a Madrid derby on Sunday, whilst Real Madrid will be without Higuain and Benzama for their trip to Levante. Levante have won all their home games in the league so far, apart from an opening day draw with Atletico Madrid, and have taken 10 from the last 12 points in play, as well as taking a valuable point from their trip to Twente in the Europa League on Thursday.

Valencia after first away win

In contrast to Atletico, Valencia have enjoyed a good week, beating them at Mestalla last weekend and scoring four against BATE in the Champions League midweek to sit joint top of their group. On Sunday they travel to Valladolid looking for their first away win of the season against a team who sit a point ahead of them and have lost just once at home this campaign. Bilbao’s European season looks set to finish early after their defeat to Lyon on Thursday, but perhaps more urgently, Bielsa needs to get some La Liga wins under his belt with his team sitting just a point above the drop zone, starting on Sunday when Seville visit San Mames.


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