Pablo Blazquez Dominguez
A meeting between local rivals Atletico Bilbao and Real Sociedad highlights this week's action in Spain.
This week La Liga presents us with some interesting matches including the Basque derby between Athletic and Sociedad, Barcelona hosts Sevilla and red hot Espanyol faces second place Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid's meeting with last place Depor does not qualify as interesting.
Friday, February 22nd
Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Sociedad
(21:30 CET, 3:30PM ET)
Everybody loves a derby and La Liga kicks off this week's action with the latest edition of the Basque Derby. Sociedad wasted an opportunity last week only managing a draw against Levante. Fortunately for Philippe Montanier and his team, Rayo were handled by Madrid allowing Sociedad to hold on to sixth place. Atheltic were stymied by Malaga as their horrible season continues and they find themselves a meer six points clear of the drop zone.
Saturday, February 23rd
(16:00 CET, 10:00AM ET)
It's mid-table versus relegation zone as Getafe travels to Mallorca. Los Bermellones have yet to win in 2013 and should probably consider getting three points out of a couple games if they'd like to stick around the top division next season. Getafe on the other hand are comfortably in tenth place and doing a good job of beating the teams below them. One expects that will probably continue this weekend.
Real Zaragoza vs. Valenica
(18:00 CET, 12:00PM ET)
Valencia have surged up to fifth place thanks to two straight wins over Celta Vigo and Mallorca. This week they face yet another team in the relegation fight with a trip to Real Zaragoza. The Blanquillos are on the good side of the relegation fight, four points clear of Celta. Valencia are in between Champions League games so they'll have a first choice lineup available.
Deportivo La Coruña vs. Real Madrid
(20:00 CET, 2:00PM ET)
Let's be honest here, if Real Madrid don't hammer last place Depor we're all going to point fingers at them and laugh like Nelson Muntz.
Barcelona vs. Sevilla FC
(22:00 CET, 4:00PM ET)
Who knows where Barcelona's heads will be after their shocking mid-week Champions League loss against AC Milan. No doubt Unai Emery and Sevilla will be hoping that it's a distraught and distracted Barca team rather than a fired up and angry version. Given how badly Barca played it's certainly possible Sevilla could be in for a thrashing if the Blaugrana decide to take out their frustration on them. With a Copa del Rey second leg against Real Madrid only three days after this match, Sevilla are more likely to face a squad resting key players.
Sunday, February 24th
Rayo Vallecano vs. Real Valladolid
(12:00 CET, 6:00AM ET)
If Rayo have European ambitions they should probably try to win this game. Valladolid are solid but to the winner of games against teams below you in the table go the ultimate spoils.
Celta Vigo vs. Granada
(17:00 CET, 11:00AM ET)
Things are getting pretty simple for Celta at this point, start winning or say goodbye to the top division next season. Granada will just be looking to stay away from the relegation fight, they're currently six points clear.
Atletico Madrid vs. Espanyol
(19:00 CET, 1:00PM ET)
Espanyol have now extended their streak of games without a loss to six and are now 11 points clear of the drop zone after being in that mess not too long ago. It's been a great run for the Parakeets and now they'll get a chance to test themselves against second place Atletico Madrid. Atleti are busy right now and will be playing three days after a Europa League match and face a Copa del Rey match three days after this one.
Real Betis vs. Malaga
(21:00 CET, 3:00PM ET)
Real Betis' dreams of European football next year are on life support as they haven't won in five games and have slumped all the way to eight after peaking as high as fourth a few weeks ago. Malaga are coming off a tough Champions League match against FC Porto but can't lose their focus in they want to hang on to fourth place.
Monday, Februray 25th
Levante vs. Osasuna
(21:00 CET, 3:00PM ET)
Sadly this week's edition of Monday Night Futbol in Spain is hardly a scintillating match-up.