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La Preview: Barça seek bounceback and Atleti visit joint leaders

If time is tight in the La Liga Loca reader’s weekend, the best advice is to book a solid chunk off on Saturday – and a couple of hours on Friday – to catch all the big ones of La Liga this weekend. Real Madrid, Celta, Barcelona, Sevilla, Villarreal and Atlético Madrid are all in action, leaving Sunday a bit of a barren wasteland featuring Getafe against Levante, although there’s the Basque derby in San Sebastian. Heck, scrap all that. It all looks good in La Liga, so take a full weekend away from reality.

Will Coach Nuno survive a fearsome Friday in Mestalla?

If Valencia had a Facebook status, it would be “it’s really complicated”. If it was simply a case of bad results causing the fans to be on the back of coach Nuno and some of the players, then winning a bunch of games would be a fairly simple solution – starting with Friday evening’s clash with Granada. But nothing is ever, ever simple at a club that has had former presidents plotting to kidnap each other and a half-built stadium slowly crumbling to dust.

Instead, it’s all to do with the Peter Lim takeover, the easing-out of the former Spanish president of the club, the involvement of Jorge Mendes and some rather inflated transfer deals over the summer. Indeed, a former VP of the club, Miguel Zorío, has made legal charges against Lim for financial impropriety. These are all issues that Nuno cannot really solve, which is why he's gone into Diego Simeone mode by saying that his team have looked themselves in the face like men and are all behind him and the club.

Valencia vs Granada: LIVE Friday 20.30 CEST 

Can Barça bounce back from midweek mayhem against Celta?

LLL doesn’t want to say “told you so” – it does, really – but, well, “told you so”. The blog predicted that Barça might drop points against Celta and so it came to pass, although the epic manner of the collapse was fairly surprising.

Naturally, the Spanish media has viewed the loss as just a bad day at the office against a superior, well-marshaled team on the day. Except of course it hasn’t. It’s panic stations across the board, with Friday’s Mundo Deportivo wondering if the whole blame was to be put in the wobbly hands of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

At least the come-down should be comfortable, with Las Palmas coming to the Camp Nou, although Barça really do need to avoid the traditional take-ages-to-score-one-then-get-another-late-on routine in these types of games and deliver the sort of treatment that the Catalans themselves received on Wednesday. 
Barcelona vs Las Palmas: LIVE Saturday 16.00 CEST 

Will Málaga manage at least a goal against Real Madrid?

To not score in one game is normal. To not score in two is Getafe. To not score in three is David Moyes. But now Málaga have taken this narrative much further by failing to score a single goal in the first five matches of La Primera, a statistic that leaves the side in the relegation zone with Sevilla. The latest attempt to not just win a game, but score a goal, came on Wednesday at home to Villarreal; the 1-0 defeat didn’t go down too well at all with the locals.

The good news is that Málaga are on their travels on Saturday. The bad news is that the trip is to the Santiago Bernabéu, to face a team feeling very pleased with itself after a victory up in San Mamés on Wednesday. Málaga might be on the brink of making it a very unsavoury six-game streak.
Real Madrid vs Málaga: LIVE Saturday 18.15 CEST 

What will happen in battle of confidence kings?

Now this could be the tasty match-up of the weekend. A flying, confident Atlético Madrid visit a flying, confident Villarreal at El Madrigal. The home side is reverting to very successful type: their four wins from five have featured no nonsense, no drama and no fretting.

Often excellent but frequently flaky, Villarreal have suddenly turned ruthless and their 13-point haul leaves them joint-top with Real Madrid and Celta Vigo, one clear of their Saturday visitors. This one could get messy. But in a good way.
Villarreal vs Atlético Madrid: LIVE Saturday 20.30 CEST 

Can Sevilla seriously sort themselves out?

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Now this is getting a bit silly. The midweek round brought yet another defeat for Sevilla, who are now rock bottom with just the single point. The biggest problem isn’t so much injuries to players like Ever Banega, but the confidence that has been drained from the club over the gruelling five-match start to the season.

Sevilla’s one advantage is that the players all seem to be holding up their peckers with lots of motivational onslaughts on social media, and Unai Emery has all the credit in the world – well, about two more months – what with Sevilla having won the Europa League to plonk themselves into the Champions League.

The next chance to turn things around and at least get out of the relegation places is on a super Saturday with the visit of Rayo, although the Madrid team’s three-points-or-nothing football style may not be ideal for a team going through a spiritual crisis.
Sevilla vs Rayo: LIVE Saturday 20.30 CEST

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