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Friday, 22 November 2019

Basque derbies and a gripping title race bring LaLiga Santander back with a bang

LaLiga returns this weekend with the title race hotting up; more thrills and spills are sure to come as the most competitive LaLiga Santander table in decades currently has just two points separating the top five clubs, while local pride and much more will be on the line as four of LaLiga’s five Basque clubs come together on Sunday.



The action begins Friday night at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium where hosts Levante UD beat Barcelona in their last home game, welcoming an RCD Mallorca side capable of defeating Real Madrid at home but yet to pick up even one point away from their Son Moix stadium.

Saturday’s programme begins with a top vs bottom clash as co-leaders FC Barcelona, who have had an up and down time away from the Camp Nou this season, visit a CD Leganes team with just one win so far in 2019/20 but who did win this fixture 2-1 last year.

Next up is a Real Betis side whose players and fans have had a fortnight's international break to dwell on their derby defeat to Sevilla before hosting Valencia CF, who have climbed to sixth in the table having kicked into form in recent weeks.

Three straight LaLiga Santander losses have seen Granada CF dip a little after such a high-flying start, so they will be fired up to welcome third-placed Atletico de Madrid, who have Portuguese starlet Joao Felix back after a month out injured.

Saturday evening’s late clash should be a cracker, as Real Madrid host Real Sociedad in a clash of two teams full of exciting talents hitting form. Many eyes will be on the visitors’ fit again playmaker Martin Odegaard – who is on loan from Real Madrid – going to head to head with Los Blancos new midfield star Fede Valverde.

Sunday’s action starts with 19th placed RCD Espanyol hoping the international break will have changed their fortunes when they host Getafe CF, who have steadily climbed the table with just one defeat in their last five league games.

The action then shifts to Pamplona, with CA Osasuna hosting local rivals Athletic Club in what is likely to be a typically tight and passionate derby match-up. Los Rojillos are 31 games unbeaten at El Sadar but Los Leones won 2-1 on their last visit, with Pamplona native IƱaki Williams among the scorers.

Another all-Basque clash quickly follows with SD Eibar hosting their neighbours D. Alaves – who hail from the city of Vitoria jut 50km away – with another tight encounter on the cards given their three LaLiga meetings to date at Ipurua having brought one win each and a draw.

New RC Celta coach Oscar Garcia, who impressed with his tactical ideas on his debut last time out at Barcelona, will be challenged again on Sunday as the Galicians visit high-scoring but unpredictable Villarreal.

Sunday’s final game sees a highly-organised Real Valladolid team still unbeaten in their five games at their Estadio Jose Zorilla so far hosting Sevilla FC, who travel with the joint-best away record in LaLiga Santander with 13 points from seven away games in 2019/20.

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