Match Previews

La Preview: Córdoba’s farewell party and Ronaldo searching for soulmates

FFT's Spanish expert Tim Stannard tries to keep up as the La Liga action shows no signs of relenting...

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Too much noise! Too much for the blog’s brain to take in! First off, the government passes a bill that might completely change the way that Spanish football is run in terms of money, by making everything distinctly commie and sharing. Then there’s a midweek round of matches that pretty much blended in with the end of the last round of games. And here is a load more coming up, starting off with Real Sociedad plodding their way through a home game with Levante and ending up with a good chance of Barcelona having one hand on the title trophy. Gazzooks!

Is Ronaldo looking to make friends in Sevilla?

If Cristiano Ronaldo was barely tolerant of players like Gareth Bale and Chicharito daring to score goals when that is the sole property of the Portuguese pouter, then it is no real surprise that he went completely postal with Alvaro Arbeloa of all people nicking a ball off his feet for Real Madrid’s third against Almería.

The ball was rebooted angrily to the back of the net by Ronaldo, who has previously seen a visiting defender ‘stealing’ a goal from him, and there was a definite bottom lip quiver as he returned to the centre circle with his goalscoring basket very empty. While Ronaldo has suffered a bit of media finger-wagging for his increased inability to grasp the No-I-in-Team concept, he's been backed by Arbeloa. “I saw what he did and it does not bother me. And if it doesn’t bother me, then it shouldn’t bother anyone else,” said the defender, putting a lock on the issue.

On to tiresome football matters, as Saturday’s showdown with Sevilla is a title-breaker for Real Madrid. Lose, and the club’s title hopes are crumbs on the breakfast table ready to be vacuumed up by one of those tiny devices LLL wish it owned. Losing might well be the most likely outcome as Sevilla are flying high these days, playing in a stadium where they haven't lost in a year and where they have beaten Real Madrid in the last two league meetings. Could be interesting.
Sevilla v Real Madrid: Saturday 20.00 CET

"Cheers, pal"

Will Valencia get an easy ride in Mestalla?

Such random events happen in the realm of Rayo Vallecano that King Nuno would probably take a point for Valencia in the suburbs of Madrid. Especially as it could have been a lot worse with the visitors down to 10 men and Diego Alves in full fluff mode - that's of the allowing the ball to slip through his fingers into the back of the net kind. There will probably be no such resistance in Mestalla on Sunday, with poor old Eibar coming to town in an increasingly beleaguered campaign.
Valencia v Eibar:  Sunday 19.00 CET

Can Córdoba make a final stand against Barca?

If you are going to get relegated, at least it won’t be against a team like Getafe. Instead, it’s Barca that are set to do the job in an encounter fans probably would have been looking forward to at the beginning of the campaign. Even manager José Antonio Romero senses that the clash is a lost cause, calling up the old salty metaphors that “anything can happen in just one game” and that the match is “11 against 11”.
Córdoba v Barcelona: Saturday 16.00 CET

"Don't stop believing"

Can Villarreal give Sergio Asenjo a boost?

If ever a group of players is justified in running out onto the pitch wearing t-shirts supporting injured colleagues, it's in the case of poor Sergio Asenjo. The goalkeeper suffered a torn cruciate ligament in his right knee in the Atlético clash, his third such injury, and is set to miss the next six months.
Deportivo v Villarreal: Saturday 22.00 CET

Will Depor face peer pressure in the stands?

The Deportivo players were probably thinking that life couldn’t get any worse for them. A 4-0 away defeat to Elche on Wednesday continued a run of 12 matches without a win to leave Deportivo third-from-bottom. But life did get worse, as it so often does, when around 50 Depor folk decided to interrupt Thursday’s training session to share their thoughts with the Deportivo players. Many thousands times that amount could be doing the same if the footballers fail to defeat a tanking Villarreal in Galicia late on Saturday night.
Deportivo v Villarreal: Saturday 22.00 CET

Can Torres reach his century against Athletic?

Pretty easy to answer this one. No. The Rojiblanco Return-Meister is currently on 96 goals in all competition, thus needs just the four strikes to reach his century. Now if we were talking about Cristiano Ronaldo it would be a different matter, it’s just that the goalscoring progress of Torres in his loan spell at the Calderón has been... steady. Five in total, two in the league, the second being the classic effort against Villarreal.

The person to appreciate that winner most that meant Atlético are holding solid in third is Antoine Griezmann, a footballer who has been carrying the side on his brilliant back a little over the past few weeks.
Atlético Madrid v Athletic Bilbao: Saturday 18.00 CET

"Give us a lift, Antoine"

Can Granada get repeat Getafe performance?

The one crumb of comfort that Granada might take from a rotten midweek that saw a home defeat to Espanyol is that Getafe might mirror a completely limp Camp Nou performance in the Coliseum. But unfortunately Granada might be too pooped to perform, with the team having had two days' less rest than a Getafe side that played on Tuesday. And didn’t exactly run themselves into the ground. Oh. News flash. Just this second. Beep, beep, beep. Granada have fired Abel Resino after just four months. That can’t be good.
Getafe v Granada: Sunday 17.00 CET