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La Liga weekend preview: Alaves vs Real, Elche vs Barca

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The second half of the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander season begins this weekend.

Almost every team in the division has now played their first 19 games of the 38-game campaign, so Matchday 20 marks the start of the end of the season.

There are four matches on Saturday, the first of which is SD Huesca vs Villarreal CF. It will be a tough challenge for the newly promoted squad, but they have a new coach in the form of Pacheta and it will be his first home game at El Alcoraz, so the optimism will be high.

Considering Huesca won a draw when these teams met earlier in the season, the visitors can’t take anything for granted.

Saturday’s second game is an Andalusian derby as Cadiz CF make the short trip to face regional giants Sevilla FC.

It will be a particularly special occasion for Sevilla-form striker Suso as he takes on his hometown club and a team in which he launched his career.

Real Sociedad vs Real Betis are the next step and it promises to be a fascinating tactical battle between two teams in the top six for possession stats this season. However, they can’t both win the battle for possession in this one, so it will be interesting to see how these coaches adapt their styles and which one wins.

On Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. CET there is a huge game for Deportivo Alaves.

They welcome the defending champions Real Madrid and they do so 100 years to the day after the founding of their club. The Babazorros were founded on January 23 in 1921 and will mark their centenary with one of the biggest events of the season.

They will also do it with Abelardo in a dugout, their former coach who returned to the helm last week. He has already defeated Real Madrid as an Alaves coach, so the capital side will need to be careful.

Four more matches will follow on Sunday, starting with CA Osasuna vs Granada CF. These two teams actually met as recently as January 12, when they played their postponed first-round encounter of the season and when Granada won 2-0.

We’ll find out soon if Osasuna can do better this time around.

Pjanic Barcelona 2021

Elche CF will next face FC Barcelona and the pressure is really on the home side to pull off a positive result from this game, as they haven’t won any of their last 12 league games. Barca, meanwhile, will be looking to overcome disappointment in their final Spanish Super Cup defeat, but they will find themselves without Lionel Messi suspended for this game and others will have to try to overcome this absence.

The next game on Sunday could be tense as RC Celta face SD Eibar in Galicia, a game that ended scoreless the last two times they met. It could be an equally close game between two teams still looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone.

After that, there is a game that could produce many goals.

Two Spanish football giants will meet in the capital as Atletico de Madrid take on Valencia CF and there have been 14 goals in the teams’ last five meetings.

Atleti are at the top of the table and will be considered favorites, but Valencia have shown this season that they can improve their game on the bigger occasions.

Diego Simeone, Filipe Luis, Atletico Madrid

Los Che have already beaten Real Madrid and Real Sociedad and retired to FC Barcelona.

Sunday night their next heavyweight fight takes place.

There is also a Monday night game in this round as Spanish Super Cup champions Athletic Club make a triumphant return to San Mames to play Getafe CF.

The Basque side will still be full of confidence after winning the first trophy of the Spanish football season, but they will also want to start scoring league points in what will be new manager Marcelino’s fifth game, but only his second LaLiga. Santander game.

Getafe has been rejuvenated by the loan arrivals of Takefusa Kubo and Carles Alena and that means an excellent competition of skill and physicality is to be expected.

Watch LaLiga Santander live this weekend on SuperSport LaLiga on DStv Channel 204.

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