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Friday, January 27, 2023

LaLiga Preview: A Weekend With Four Intriguing Matches

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The first four weeks of the 2022/23 LaLiga season have already been a lot of fun and now Matchday 5 will throw up some more intriguing fixtures.

Curiously, four of them will take place in Spain’s capital, with Rayo Vallecano, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid and Getafe all playing in front of their home fans.

The weekend begins, though, in Catalonia as Girona host Real Valladolid. This is a battle of two of the newly promoted sides and they have each had respectable starts, taking four points from their opening four fixtures.

From Pucela’s point of view, they can make the trip feeling confident after their star striker Shon Weissman returned from injury to score a 93rd-minute winner against the other newly promoted team, UD Almería, last time out.

Saturday’s slate of fixtures starts with the first of the games in the capital as Valencia CF pay a visit to Vallecas.

Gennaro Gattuso’s side just scored five goals in a big win last weekend, so Rayo Vallecano will need to raise their game after back-to-back defeats.

Next comes Espanyol vs Sevilla, as the Andalusians look to jumpstart their season after taking just one point from a possible 12 to start the campaign.

However, that’s still a better record than that of Cádiz, who are the only team yet to score a goal and yet to pick up a point.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Andalusians as they now see Barcelona come to town, looking to make it four league victories in a row, although Cádiz can take confidence from the fact they’ve won two and drawn two of their four meetings with Barça since returning to the top division in 2020.

Saturday’s LaLiga action concludes at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, where Atlético Madrid will take on RC Celta.

Diego Simeone’s side will need to be wary of Iago Aspas, who has had an excellent start to the campaign by scoring in every game so far, netting a total of five goals.

The Bernabéu plays host to the first of Sunday’s LaLiga games, with Real Madrid meeting Mallorca after starting their Champions League defence with a win in midweek.

Los Blancos have also been perfect as they defend their LaLiga Santander title, winning four matches from four, and they’ll look to put on a show for their fans in what is just their second home fixture so far.

Elche vs Athletic Club follows, with the Basque club looking to recover their best form after a shock defeat last weekend. Ander Herrera could be given his debut, so that should be well worth tuning in to at the Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero.

The action then returns to the centre of Spain as Getafe come up against Real Sociedad at home. It was this fixture that saw Getafe halt a terrible start to last season and they’ll hope to take inspiration from that, after going winless across the first four outings of this campaign.

But, La Real are a strong opponent and Umar Sadiq has hit the ground running after completing a move to the Basque side on deadline day.

On Sunday night, there is a big match at the top of the table as third-placed Real Betis host fourth-placed Villarreal.

Both these teams come into this one after launching their European campaigns on Thursday night and they’ll hope to take all three points since their ambitions for this year are to finish inside the top four and qualify for the Champions League.

With goalkeepers Rui Silva and Gerónimo Rulli just as in form as the strikers Borja Iglesias and Gerard Moreno, this will be a difficult one to call.

There’s still time for one more game to finish Matchday 5, with UD Almería vs Osasuna coming up on Monday.

Los Rojillos have started the season very well and have nine points already, but all those points were secured at their home in Pamplona.

On Monday, they’ll pay a visit to LaLiga SmartBank champions UD Almería looking to take their winning show on the road.

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