Matchday 3 of the 2023/24 LaLiga season promises to be a memorable one, with huge matches coming up across Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. It’ll be a special weekend no matter the result for RC Celta, as the Galician club just turned 100 years of age and they’ll celebrate that centenary with a home duel against Real Madrid on Friday night.
There are other big games too, including the first regional derbies of the new season, with Cádiz CF meeting UD Almería and Rayo Vallecano taking on Atlético de Madrid.
The first of the weekend’s fixtures takes place in the Canary Islands, as UD Las Palmas will spar with Real Sociedad on Friday evening in a contest of two teams known for their possession football. Neither side has tasted victory yet this season, so both will be giving their all to try to take the first three points on offer this weekend.
The action then moves to the peninsula and to the north-west corner of it, where there will be a party atmosphere in the city of Vigo. That’s because RC Celta just celebrated the club’s centenary on Wednesday, and their first fixture after turning 100 years of age will be on Friday night at 21:30 CEST against a mighty Real Madrid side, one which has been led to back-to-back victories by new arrival Jude Bellingham. It’ll be a fascinating duel between these two historic sides, not least in the dugouts, where former Real Madrid coach Rafa Benítez will try to get the better of Carlo Ancelotti.
Three matches follow on Saturday, starting with the first regional rivalry match of the 2023/24 LaLiga season as Andalusian sides Cádiz CF and UD Almería do battle on the south coast. It’ll be a very Andalusian Saturday evening, in fact, as the next two matches take place in the same region, with Granada CF seeking their first point of the season when RCD Mallorca come to town and with Sevilla FC also looking to earn their first point when hosting a very attack-minded Girona FC side, one which conquered Los Hispalenses twice last term.
Reigning champions FC Barcelona feature in the first of Sunday’s matches, visiting Villarreal CF for a 17:30 CEST kick-off. Both these teams bounced back to take their first wins of the season in Matchday 2 and it should be a thriller on Sunday evening. The battle for control of the midfield will be especially interesting, as Dani Parejo, Étienne Capoue and co. go up against the likes of Pedri, Gavi, Frenkie de Jong and İlkay Gündoğan.
Valencia CF will host CA Osasuna in the next of Sunday’s fixtures, with Los Che looking to keep up their sensational start. Pepelu’s penalty in Matchday 2 meant Valencia CF started a new league season with two wins from two for the first time since 2011. They also won their third fixture back in that season, so will hope to do so again here.
Sunday night concludes with a duel between two of the most historic Spanish teams in Athletic Club and Real Betis. The away side will travel north with their various new signings, such as Marc Roca or Isco, having settled in nicely, but Athletic Club have the Williams brothers and just saw Nico assist Iñaki last matchday.
Both of Monday’s games this matchday are taking place in the capital, starting with Getafe CF vs Deportivo Alavés. The Basque side put on a show last Monday as they defeated Sevilla FC 4-3, and will approach this game at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez full of confidence.
Then, the final fixture of the round is Rayo Vallecano vs Atlético de Madrid. It’s the team from Vallecas who enter this matchday with more points, six compared to four, but Atleti have won seven and drawn one of their past eight against Rayo Vallecano, and will hope to end Matchday 3 above their capital city neighbours in the LaLiga standings.