After last week's highly anticipated -- and ultimately extremely rewarding - El Derbi madrileño that saw Atlético Madrid defeat Real Madrid, the Week 8 schedule in Spain is a bit calmer. No big derby match-ups, not meetings between two of the top teams in the league, just a rather quiet week that gives us a chance to see if the trends that have been going since the beginning of the season continue or start to change.
So let us explore a few of those trends.
Real Sociedad travel to face Rayo Vallecano absolutely reeling in every aspect of the word. Their Champions League dreams have been smashed in the first two match days with losses against Shakhtar Donetsk and Bayer Leverkusen and their league form is not any better. La Real sit all the way down in 13th and a loss against last place Rayo would be a further blow to the club's pride and confidence. It's hard not to wonder if head coach Jagoba Arrasate could survive another poor result.
Real Madrid have shown to be a side that simply can't find a way to get out of their own way. They've already dropped four points from seven matches and fallen five points behind Atléti and Barcelona in table. This week they face Levante who have recovered nicely after their season opening crushing at the hands of the Blaugrana. They haven't won much, mostly earning draws, but they've yet to lose at home this season.
For Atlético Madrid, their match against Celta Vigo is a classic trap game. Fresh off a derby win and a come from behind victory in the Champions League, if there was ever a moment for a team to stumble it would be now. Celta Vigo haven't been particularly great this season but they're still capable of causing problems. The last thing Diego Simeone wants is for his side to give back points to Real Madrid this quickly.
Villarreal and Espanyol will also be looking to bounce back from disappointing results last week. The Yellow Submarine's loss against Real Betis cost them a chance to vault into third place while Espanyol dropped out of a European spot thanks to their loss against Getafe.
Here's this week's schedule in La Liga.
Friday, October 4th
Villarreal vs. Granada | 2:00 p.m. ET, 8:00 p.m. CEST
Malaga vs. Osasuna | 4:00 p.m. ET, 10:00 p.m. CEST
Saturday, October 5th
Elche vs. Espanyol | 10:00 a.m. ET, 4:00 p.m. CEST
Rayo Vallecano vs. Real Sociedad | 12:00 p.m. ET, 6:00 p.m. CEST
Levante vs. Real Madrid | 2:00 p.m. ET, 8:00 p.m. CEST
Barcelona vs. Real Valladolid | 4:00 p.m. ET, 10:00 p.m. CEST
Sunday, October 6th
Atlético Madrid vs. Celta Vigo | 6:00 a.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. CEST
Sevilla vs. Almeria | 11:00 a.m. ET, 5:00 p.m. CEST
Getafe vs. Real Betis | 1:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. CEST