Friday, 4 November 2011

More week 12 preview

Real Madrid vs Osasuna

Real Madrid should maintain their lead at the top of La Liga and the
question will be ‘how many?’ against Osasuna. Real are in a rich vein
of form having won six league games in a row and their excellent form
was compounded by a solid 2-0 victory at Lyon in midweek. Jose
Mourinho’s side took top spot in La Liga thanks to Osasuna who
registered something of an upset by beating surprise leaders Levante
last week. The Basque side will need to produce something special
again if they are to take anything away from the Bernabeau. Real are
missing Kaka and Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao is doubtful. Mourinho is
expected to rotate his front line and Argentine Gonzalo Higuain should
start after being a second half substitute in France on Wednesday.

Athletico Bilbao vs Barcelona

Barcelona will be looking for their third away win on the bounce as
they visit Marcelo Bielsa’s rejuvenated Bilbao. Pep Guadiola will be
taking on his former mentor in Bielsa and be eager to get one over his
old friend as his side currently lie second and just one point behind
arch rivals Real Madrid. Bilbao are unbeaten in eight games but have
not won against the Catalans since the 2005/06 season. Both sides are
near full strength. Barca remain heavy favourites and have no fresh
injury problems with Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Cesc Fabregas and
Alex Sanchex all back to match fitness. Only Spanish forward Pedro is

Levante vs Valencia

The Andalucian derby will be one of the most intriguing ties of the
weekend. Levante will be determined to prove that last week’s loss at
Osasuna was a blip and that they are not to suffer the same fate as
Real Betis (who have lost 6 in a row since going top in September).
The loss to Osasuna was their first of the season after making their
best ever start to a Liga season. Valencia are unbeaten in five and
would leap-frog Levante into 3rd place if they can take all three
points. However, Unai Emery has lost his midfield schemer Ever Banega
to injury: the ever present Argentinian playmaker joins Sergio Canales
in the treatment room with a knee injury. Emery will shuffle his pack
and hope that Sofiane Feghouli can continue his form in front of goal.

Mallorca vs Sevilla

5th placed Sevilla head to struggling Mallorca and will be favourites
to come away with all three points and secure their first away win of
the season. Mallorca will take inspiration from Granada who earned a
shock 2-1 win over the Sevillians last weekend. Manager Joaquín
Caparrós is still looking for his first victory after taking over from
Michael Laudrup four games ago. Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo could return
after missing his side’s defeat last week. Midfielder Tomás Pina could
return for Mallorca

Real Betis vs Malaga

Two sides who have struggled after making bright starts to the season:
Malaga sit 6th while Real Betis are languishing in 14th having now
lost six in a row. Malaga secured their win against Espanyol last week
largely thanks to an inspired Salomón Rondón and will be looking for
more of the same from the Venezuelan striker. Julio Baptista is still
missing with a foot injury.

Espanyol v Villarreal

Espanyol will be favourites to get back to winning ways at home to
Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine gained just their second win of the
season at home to Rayo Vallecano last week but suffered another defeat
at home in the Champions League in midweek, all but ending their
chances of progressing to the final 16. With strikers Nilmar, Rossi
and Ruben all missing, manager Juan Carlos Garrido will need to pull
off something special to get anything from the game.

Getafe v Atletico Madrid

Getafe should triumph over Atletico who have a miserable away record
this term. Former Spain international Dani Guiza is starting to
rediscover his form and could well add to his tally for the season
against a very shaky Atletico defence.

Rayo Vallecano vs Real Sociedad

Rayo will be without veteran striker Raul Tamudo as they take on
struggling Sociedad. A win for the Madrid side would see them return
to the top half of the table.

Real Zaragoza v Sporting Gijon

Real Zaragoza just about have the edge in this bottom of La Liga
clash. Former Spurs striker Helder Postiga is finding his form for the
Iberian side and Gijon have lost three of their hour away games so

Granada v Racing Santander

Granada earned a shock win at Sevilla on Monday to lift them off the
foot of the table and will be hoping the three points kick starts the
season.  Fellow strugglers Racing registered their first win of the
season last weekend at home to Betis but are currently tied with
Granada in the relegation zone.

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