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La Liga Preview – GW 17

Real, Barca and Atleti will be hoping to add three points to their tally before the Spanish la Liga breaks for 12 days over Christmas New Year.

Soccer-Laduma takes a look at the fixtures of the big three and previews their tasks in game week 17.

Match of the Week

Valencia v Real Madrid

In the last match of the weekend Real Madrid travel to Valencia on Sunday. Ancelotti’s side will be hoping to not slip any further points apart from joint log leaders Barcelona and Atletico when they travel to Mestella.

The Los Blancos enter the game on the back of a 2-2 league draw against Osasuna, having won the previous five league games in a row. Real are unbeaten in their last 10 matches against Valencia in all competitions, but have to do without their two preferred centre-backs.

Raphael Varane is still injured and Pepe suspended. However, Sergio Ramos is available after his recent red card was overruled by the Spanish Competition Commission and Gareth Bale should also feature in the starting XI after his recent injury niggle.

Valencia lost 3-0 to Real’s rivals Atletico Madrid last week and have sacked their coach Miroslav Djukic in response. They are entering the game under the guidance of youth coach Nico Estevez as caretaker manager.

This means Real are traveling as strong favourites to the Mestella where there has been 24 goals scored in the last four meetings between these two sides.

The other ‘big guns’

When Atletico Madrid are welcoming Levante on Saturday, Diego Simeone’s side enter the game as strong favourites. Atletico have won 15 out of their 17 LA Liga games this season and will be hoping to keep the pressure on log leaders Barcelona. The hosts have won their last five home matches against Levante and will count on their on-form striker, Diego Costa, to add more goals to his tally.

If Atletico manages to draw or win, they will go on top of the La Liga table for at least 24 hours before Barcelona travel to Getafe. The Catalan giants have won eight out of their last nine matches against Getafe in all competitions and will be boosted by Andres Iniesta’s contract extension.

However, Tata Martino might have to replace Xavi Hernandez and Gerard Pique who are both doubtful for the match. In addition to his long-standing absentees, Lionel Messi and Victor Valdes, Barcelona also have to replace their Brazilian star Neymar, who has been given an extended 10-day extra holiday by his coach.  

The other matches

Elche – Malaga

Villareal – Sevilla

Betis – Almeria

Granada – Real Sociedad

Espanyol – Valladolid

Athletic Bilbao – Rayo Vallecano

Celta de Vigo – Osasuna

Can Atletico and Barcelona do their homework to keep Real five points adrift or will the Los Blancos close the gap to the joint log leaders? Have your say in the comment section below.

La Liga Preview – GW 17

La Liga Saturday Wrap

La Liga Round-Up

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