Valencia, Real & Atleti, Athletic ties light up WK 5

Valencia, Real & Atleti, Athletic ties light up WK 5

LaLiga Santander Matchday 5 kicks off this Friday with a fixture list guaranteeing entertainment and history, with classic showdowns such as Valencia CF vs Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid vs Athletic Club on the cards. 

The action gets going in Vigo on Friday night with RC Celta hosting Cádiz CF. With both these sides yet to taste victory and with both teams currently inside the bottom five, this is already a huge match as the Galician and Andalusian clubs look to jumpstart their seasons.

Getafe CF are also desperate for a positive result after starting the campaign with four defeats from four, making their short trip to take on Rayo Vallecano on Saturday lunchtime a vitally important one. If the Azulones are to take a point or more back to the south of Madrid then they’ll have to stop Radamel Falcao, who is expected to make his debut for Rayo. When the Colombian striker steps onto the pitch in front of the home fans, that’ll be quite an occasion. 

At 4.15pm CEST comes a classic of Spanish football: Atlético Madrid host Athletic Club. These two institutions have similar names and wear similar colours for a reason; the capital city club was actually created as a sister club to the Bilbao side at the beginning of the 20th century. Their recent meetings have been very tight, with two victories each and one draw from their past five. It should be another fascinating duel on Saturday.

There are a couple of regional rivalries to conclude Saturday’s action, as Elche CF welcome Valencian Community neighbours Levante UD to the Estadio Martínez Valero. CA Osasuna then make the one-hour trip to face D. Alavés at Mendizorrotza. With fans back in the stands for both of these local clashes, passionate atmospheres should be expected. 

RCD Mallorca vs Villarreal CF is the first Sunday fixture and will have several exciting young talents on show. The islanders have Kang-in Lee and Takefusa Kubo in their ranks, as well as Fer Niño, who is actually on loan from Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine themselves have the 18-year-old Yeremi Pino in their ranks, one of the rising stars of Spanish football and a man who’ll be looking to make a mark on this Sunday lunchtime fixture.

Real Sociedad and Sevilla FC meet next in a battle of two teams who’ll have been in European action in the midweek before this game. Both these clubs are aiming for another year of European qualification at least, making these three points extra valuable. Real Betis, another of Spain’s European representatives, then host RCD Espanyol in what will be a match of reunions. Former Espanyol striker Borja Iglesias now leads the line for the Green and Whites, while Loren Morón could earn his first start for the Catalan club after his summer switch from Betis. 

At 9pm CEST on Sunday night comes the blockbuster clash of the weekend as Valencia CF face Real Madrid at Mestalla. This is one of the most entertaining fixtures in all of European football, with dramatic moments in recent years such as Valencia CF’s 4-1 win last season courtesy of three Carlos Soler penalties or the Real Madrid equaliser the season before when goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois went up for a late corner and set up Karim Benzema’s last-gasp equaliser. Over the past 14 years, this fixture has produced an average of 4.4 goals per game for eight Real Madrid wins, six Valencia CF wins and three draws. With both these sides – who sit joint top on 10 points – scoring and conceding goals to start 2021/22, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be another epic encounter this Sunday night. 

The Matchday 5 slate of fixtures then reaches its conclusion at 9pm CEST on Monday night at the Camp Nou, where FC Barcelona meet Granada CF. Former Barça assistant coach Robert Moreno is now in charge of Granada and his group of players know what it’s like to win at the Camp Nou, having triumphed 2-1 there back in April towards the end of last season. Under the floodlights, it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top this time around.

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