Mercato and return of European football factors in La Liga
Madrid, September 2 (IANS): The fourth round of La Liga matches kicks off the day after the summer transfer window closes and marks the start of an intense fortnight with four matches for teams playing in Europe.
The weekend begins in Vigo on Friday night as Celta take on Cadiz, who are bottom of the table with three defeats in three games and scoreless following their 4-0 home loss to Athletic Bilbao on Monday.
The teams in action in the Champions League all play on Saturday, with Sevilla’s home game against FC Barcelona one of three fascinating fixtures.
Barca are traveling after morale-boosting wins over Real Sociedad and Real Valladolid, while Sevilla have just one point from their opening three games of the campaign, and the pressure is starting to mount on manager Julen Lopetegui .
While Xavi Hernandez is unlikely to make many changes to the side that won 4-0 against Valladolid, the game probably comes too soon for Lopetegui to start newcomers Adnan Januzaj and Kasper Dolberg, who should strengthen this which has been so far. a half-hearted attack.
Real Madrid are playing their first match at the refurbished Santiago Bernabeu stadium against co-leaders Real Betis and something has to give in a match between two teams with 100% season debuts, Xinhua reports.
Carlo Ancelotti could bring Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy back into the squad, while Betis will continue to seek goals from in-form striker Borja Iglesias, against a rival who is used to not playing well before winning games with moments of brilliance. .
Saturday also sees Real Sociedad at home to Atletico Madrid, and the Basques could have newcomers Alexander Sorloth and Umar Sadiq in their starting XI.
Atletico were lucky with a deflected goal to win at Valencia on Monday and it will be another big test for Diego Simeone’s slightly erratic side.
Sunday begins with Osasuna entertaining Rayo Vallecano in a game between rivals who both suffered their first defeats of the campaign last weekend, although Osasuna won both of their home matches, while Rayo are unbeaten away .
Athletic Bilbao have enjoyed a positive start to the season with two wins and a draw since Ernesto Valverde’s return to the dugout, and the big doubt ahead of their home game against Espanyol is whether striker Inaki Williams can shake off an ankle injury to continue her record. of 236 consecutive league appearances.
Ander Herrera could also return for Athletic, eight years after leaving the club to join Manchester United.
Villarreal also have two wins and a draw and should build on their home start against an Elche side who have just one point from three games. Villarreal manager Unai Emery is struggling at right-back after Juan Foyth’s injury, and there are doubts over Samuel Chukwueze who could move to Everton.
Valencia face Getafe in key game for Gennaro Gattuso after defeats to Athletic Bilbao and Atletico but Valencia manager’s planning not helped by departure of Uros Racic and likely move for Maxi Gomez and star midfielder Carlos Soler, who is expected to join Paris. Saint Germain.
The round of fixtures ends on Monday as newly promoted Real Valladolid and Almeria face off.