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Friday, March 24, 2023

LaLiga Preview: First Super Sunday of 2022/23 Season

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After a thrilling opening weekend of the 2022/23 LaLiga season, fans are ready for more action and Matchday 2 will quench that thirst with several blockbuster fixtures.

There are matches across Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with three huge duels on the Sunday evening schedule in Athletic Club vs Valencia CF, Atlético de Madrid vs Villarreal CF and Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona.

There are many other intriguing fixtures too, including two on Friday night. The first match of this round will see Espanyol host Rayo Vallecano, with Andoni Iraola’s side returning to the city of Barcelona after earning a very impressive goalless draw at the Camp Nou last weekend. Now, they’ll aim for another positive result in the capital of Catalonia.

Later on Friday night, Sevilla aim to jumpstart their season after a disappointing opening day defeat. They’ll be at home against newly promoted Real Valladolid and some of the Andalusian side’s new signings could debut.

It was Osasuna who defeated Sevilla FC in Matchday 1 and now the Pamplona-based side will seek another three-point haul at home to Cádiz in the first of Saturday’s games. Youngster Aimar Oroz was impressive last time and will hope for another opportunity to start for Los Rojillos.

The LaLiga action then moves to the Balearic Islands as Mallorca play host to Real Betis, in what will be a duel between two of the most experienced coaches in the division, 63-year-old Javier Aguirre and 68-year-old Manuel Pellegrini.

Carlo Ancelotti is an experienced coach too and he will take his Real Madrid squad to Vigo for a Saturday night showdown against Celta, one which kicks off at 22:00 CEST. Los Blancos thrashed RC Celta 5-2 early on in 2021/22 and will hope for a similarly positive result this time.

Then comes the first Super Sunday of the season, with three huge matches between some of the most successful and historic clubs in Spanish football. First off, Gennaro Gattuso takes his new Valencia side to Bilbao to take on Ernesto Valverde’s Athletic Club, in what should be a fiercely contested battle between two physical outfits who both aspire to return to Europe this season.

Later on Sunday evening, Atlético Madrid have their first home game of 2022/23 as they take on Villarreal. Both these sides won 3-0 on the road to start this new season in the best possible way and they’ll be looking to keep that up, with Atleti following João Félix’s lead after his three assists and with Unai Emery hoping for more magic from his brilliant youth teamers.

In the 10pm CEST slot on Sunday night, it’s a classic of Spanish football’s top division as Real Sociedad host Barcelona. While this used to be a very daunting trip for Barça, when they suffered what was known as the ‘Anoeta Curse’, they have now gone 15 meetings without losing to La Real in all competitions and won this fixture 1-0 last year thanks to a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal. Xavi will hope for a similar result as the Blaugrana aim to put their first win on the board.

Even after that super Sunday, there’s still more action to come on Monday. Two of the newly promoted sides are in action then, first with UD Almería visiting Elche after the LaLiga SmartBank champions gave Real Madrid a difficult challenge in a narrow 2-1 Matchday 1 loss. Then, Girona will host Getafe later on Monday night, with LaLiga action returning to the Estadi Montilivi for the first time since 2019.

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