Real Zaragoza vs Villarreal
Javier Aguirre makes his home debut on the Real Zaragoza bench as his team face a must-win match against one of La Ligas top sides, Villarreal. After achieving a decent point away to Getafe, in what was another atrocious performance from Zaragoza, Aguirre will be looking to toughen up a porous defence while adding extra verve to his sides movement up front. Currently 'Los Maños' look utterly clueless in possession and jittery at best when soaking up pressure. Many believe Aguirre will revert to a 4-4-2 in an attempt to add an extra dimension in attack, offering a partner to Sinama-Pongolle, even if it means relying solely on Contini and Jarosik to stop the dynamic duo of Nilmar and Rossi.
Villarreal will be looking to close the ever-widening gap between themselves and the top two with a win in La Romareda, but they will have to do so without Borja Valero and Joan Capdevila. Valero will be especially missed, so often the link between defence and attack, providing the ammunition for Villarreals red-hot strikers. Cani and Cazorla will look to take on Zaragozas suspect full-backs whenever possible, while Marcos Senna is widely expected to make his long-awaited comeback from injury in the middle.
Sevilla vs Getafe
Sevilla saw their recent ressurection under Gregorio Manzano brought crashing down to earth last week against Mallorca, as they struggle to turn the Sanchez Pizjuan into the fortress that has served them so well in recent seasons. Manzanos men will be looking to return to the European spots with a win against Getafe, with the manager calling for his team to be more ambitious and to play without fear. Alfaro and Diego Perotti will be key on the wings, with Frederic Kanoute and Alvaro Negredo keen to continue their fruitful partnership infront of goal.
Getafe, are in the midst of a mini-crisis that has seen them fail to win in their last seven league encounters. President Angel Torres has come out in defence of manager Míchel, but you can't help but feel that many more negative results and his position will come under serious scrutiny. Much of their problems stem from their dangermen underperforming. Players like Casquero, Gavilan and Albin, who have served Getafe so well in the past, are stuggling for form. Strikers Miku and Adrian Colunga can't find any real consistency finding the back of the net. Much of Getafes success will depend on Manu, the creative force behind the lone striker. If they can get him into the game they might just have a chance of causing another upset in the Sanchez Pizjuan.
Atletico Madrid vs Espanyol
Finishing off the days action, Atletico Madrid and Espanyol lock horns at the Vicente Calderon in what is likely to be an intriguing clash. With Atleti sixth and Espanyol fourth in the table, this is an early-season Champions League showdown. Espanyol have been the surprise package of the season so far, although many of their points have been achieved at home in Cornella. Away from home they have won one and lost four conceding 11 goals and only scoring one in the process. So if Mauricio Pochettino has serious hopes of getting Espanyol into Europe this pattern needs to change. Two key men for 'Los Pericos' will be keeper Carlos Kameni, so often an unsung hero for his side, and the freescoring Osvaldo. The Argentinian striker has been a revelation since his loan move from Bologna, with his goals vital to any hopes of beating Atleti.
Quique Sanchez Flores caused a stir by leaving Alvaro Dominguez out of the matchday squad for techincal reasons, with the defender having experienced a serious dip in form. Following a storming performance away at Real Sociedad, many eyes will be focused on the Diego Forlan-Sergio Agüero partnership as the two continue to out goals on a plate for each other. Agüero especially is on fire, and it will be a sturn test for the Espanyol back four to stop the little Argentinian. So far this season Atletico have only managed to earn one point against teams from the top seven (Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Villarreal and Real Madrid) so they will be extra keen to break this dismal run against Espanyol.