Source: China State Council Information Office
Matchday 14 in La Liga signals the start of a vital period with two games crammed in before the short Christmas holiday break.
The round of matches kicks off on Friday night with Athletic Club Bilbao at home to Huesca. Athletic have to play on Friday despite facing Real Madrid in Valdebebas on Tuesday night and having little recovery time.
Coach Gaizka Garitano needs to see a repeat of the performance which saw his side unlucky to lose to Madrid after playing for 77 minutes with a player less after Raul Garcia’s early red card. Garcia is suspended along with defender Yeray Alvarez for an accumulation of yellow cards.
Atletico Madrid, who moved to the top of the table on goal difference without playing on Wednesday, get Saturday’s games underway and will expect all three points at home to Elche, who made hard work of a rival from the fifth tier of the Spanish game on in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday evening, all be it with a side of fringe players.
FC Barcelona played their best 45 minutes of football against Real Sociedad on Wednesday, and they too have little recovery time ahead of their match at home to Valencia.
Valencia travel after being just seconds away from elimination in the Copa del Rey against fourth-tier Terrassa. They have not won in four La Liga games to put pressure on coach Javi Gracia.
Barca’s win on Wednesday moved them up to fifth in the table, and another win would get them back into the battle for the title.
Real Sociedad start the weekend in second place, but they looked tired in the first half against Barca on Wednesday, and they too have little time to recover their legs before traveling to play Levante.
‘La Real’ have not won in their last seven games in all competitions. With Adnan Januzaj suffering a hamstring injury on Wednesday, coach Imanol Alguacil will hope to have David Silva and Mikel Oyarzabal available at the weekend.
Bottom of the table Osasuna have to start turning things around but will have a tough task at home to fourth place Villarreal, while Sevilla will be favorites to take three points from their game at home to Valladolid, who currently sit just outside of the relegation zone.
Celta Vigo kick off Sunday’s matches with Eduardo Coudet’s side (especially Iago Aspas) in excellent form after their 4-0 thrashing of Cadiz on Monday and looking for their fourth consecutive win at home to Alaves, whose run of six games without defeat came to a disappointing end last weekend in Huesca.
There is an Andalusian derby between Granada and Betis before Cadiz entertain a Getafe side that is struggling to find its identity this season and currently sits just two places above the drop zone after a run of seven games without a win and just one goal in their last four games.
The round of matches ends with Real Madrid, who have been given plenty of time to recover their strength after Tuesday’s game, visiting Eibar.
Eibar sit in mid-table with three wins and six draws, but all of their wins have come on the road, and they have yet to taste victory in their Ipurua Stadium.
Real Madrid recover Casemiro after suspension and travel to the Basque region, looking for their fifth win in all competitions.