Time is running out for Almeria to shake an unwanted monkey off their backs. Olympique Lyon’s 1-0 upset victory over Stade Rennes in French Ligue One just before the international break means Liga Santander’s basement club are the only team in Europe’s top five leagues that is yet to register a single victory. One of the newly promoted sides from the lower division, Almeria only have three draws to show after thirteen rounds of action.
Unless Gaizka Garitano’s side can find a winning formula away to unpredictable Getafe, they are in real danger of becoming the worst team in Primera Liga history. That record is currently held by Sporting Gijon which accumulated just 13 points in 1997/98. With seven stalemates to date, Getafe are the draw masters of the division. Matter of fact, trips to the Estadio Coliseum aren’t for the faint hearted as Jose Bordalas’ side are unbeaten on home turf.
With league leaders Girona not in action until Monday when they host Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid can ascend to the summit if they overcome Cadiz on Sunday afternoon. Carlo Ancelotti’s Los Blancos are however without Vinicius Junior and Edouardo Camavinga who were both injured on international duty for Brazil and France respectively. The good news for Ancelotti is that top scorer Jude Bellingham is in contention after missing England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.
Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez knows his team’s overall output has to improve when third placed Blaugrana make the trip to Rayo Vallecano in Saturday’s lunch time kick off. Last summer’s departure of Sergio Busquets, Frankie Kessi and Ousmane Dembele as well as injuries to Frenkie de Jong Pedro Gonzalez ‘Pedri’ and Pablo Martin Gavira ‘Gavi’ has denied the Camp Nou club cohesion. After a series of below par displays, Barca fans will certainly travel to the capital with trepidation.
Deportivo Alaves will fancy their chances of putting points on board when they get match day 14 action underway on Friday night at home to a Granada side languishing in the relegation zone with just seven points. Saturday afternoon is to feature a make or break encounter for Celta Vigo boss Rafa Benitez on his return to the Mestalla Stadium where he is guaranteed a warm reception having guided Valencia to Liga Santander success in 2002 and 2004. Atletico Madrid begin the weekend in fourth place but have a perfectly winnable home fixture with Mallorca.
Deportivo Alaves v Granada
Rayo Vallecano v Barcelona,
Valencia v Celta Vigo,
Getafe v Almeria,
Atletico Madrid v Mallorca
Villarreal v Osasuna,
Real Sociedad v Sevilla,
Cadiz v Real Madrid,
Real Betis v Las Palmas
Girona v Athletic Bilbao