La Liga, Week 4 preview and fixtures: Back to the weekly grind

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Club football is back after the international break and a few of La Liga's teams look a little different after deadline day.

After the long, cold darkness of the second international break of the young season it's time to get back to the business of club football. La Liga returns this week with the focus likely to be on one particular new face at Real Madrid and a severe lack of "big" games on the schedule.

Let us take a look at the five games worth watching this week in Spain -- it might be a stretch to get five honestly -- along with the rest of the schedule of matches that runs from Saturday through Monday.

Villarreal vs. Real Madrid | Saturday - 4:00 p.m. ET, 10:00 p.m. CEST

The undisputed king of games this week in La Liga for a couple reasons. First, we'll likely see the debut of Madrid's newest signing Gareth Bale and get out first look at how Carlo Ancelotti deploys his new weapon. The expectation is for the 4-2-3-1 to stick with Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco and Gareth Bale playing behind Karim Benzema from right to left across the midfield. It's probably also a blessing that Bale's debut is on the road since playing in the Santiago Bernabéu for the first time will be a nervy experience.

The other reason to pay attention is this is Villarreal's first true test of the season. After three games against teams in the bottom half of the table, the third place side in the league -- and one of four teams with a perfect record -- will have a chance to send a message.

Barcelona vs. Sevilla | Saturday - 2:00 p.m. ET, 8:00 p.m. CEST

The Blaugrana made no deadline day moves so there's nothing new to see from Gerardo Martino's team who currently sit in first place. Considering Sevilla's struggles early in the season there's a good chance the scoreline in this one could get ugly, but it would be a tremendous opportunity for Unai Emery's men to turn things around before people start throwing out the crisis word. Barcelona should have both Dani Alves and Sergio Busquets available after both missed international duty with minor injuries.

Athletic Bilbao vs. Celta Vigo | Monday - 4:00 p.m. ET, 10:00 p.m. CEST

If this seems like an odd pick, just look at the table. Both Athletic Club and Celta have made strong starts to the season as they sit in fifth and seventh place respectively. It's tough to see either of these clubs maintaing these early season heights all year but anything is possible of course. This game should give us a good idea of where they both stand and could end up being important points later in the season if they either can stay in the European race.

Getafe vs. Osasuna | Sunday - 11:00 a.m. ET, 5:00 p.m. CEST

Don't immediately scoff at the idea of a match between the 19th and 20th placed teams in La Liga being mentioned among the most interesting matches of the week. Sure it's only the fourth week but both of these teams are struggling big time and one, Osasuna, has already sacked a manager. This will be the debut of their new boss Javi Gracia who led Almeria to promotion and then turned down a new contract offer with the club.

Atletico Madrid vs. Almeria | Saturday - 10:00 a.m. ET, 4:00 p.m. CEST

The interesting thing about this match is simply the fact that it's a game that Atletico should, and must, win if they hope to keep pace with Barca and Madrid. Unless you're a die hard supporter of the Spain's big two, you probably want a three team race for the title and Atletico have to avoid slipping up in matches like this during the season.

Here's the rest of the week's schedule:

Levante vs. Real Sociedad | Saturday - 12:00 p.m. ET, 6:00 p.m. CEST

Granada vs. Espanyol | Sunday - 6:00 a.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. CEST

Malaga vs. Rayo Vallecano | Sunday - 1:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. CEST

Real Betis vs. Valencia | Sunday - 3:00 p.m. ET, 9:00 p.m. CEST

Elche vs. Real Valladolid | Monday - 2:00 p.m. ET, 8:00 p.m. CEST

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