LaLiga Matchday 19: Rampant Sociedad ready to shock Real
Real Sociedad are enjoying a season to remember and are ready to shock reigning champions Real Madrid in the capital.
Table-topping Barcelona will be looking to pile the pressure on Carlo Ancelotti's outfit by beating Girona on Saturday to extend their lead at Spanish football's summit.
Atletico Madrid face a tough trip to Osasuna as they aim to fend off competition for their top-four spot, with nearest challengers Villarreal hosting Rayo Vallecano.
Meanwhile, Sevilla will hope to put more distance between themselves and the drop zone as they welcome winless Elche to the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
Game of the week: Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad (Sunday, 8pm)
Real host high-flying Sociedad with plenty at stake — defeat would see their opponents move level on points and could hand Barcelona a six-point lead at the top.
La Real are on a five-game winning streak in the league, though they have not won any of their last six top-flight meetings with Los Blancos (two draws, four defeats) and lost 1-0 at Barca in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
The hosts have a superb record on their own patch, losing just one of their previous 15 LaLiga meetings at home against Sociedad (12 wins, two draws) and have only been beaten once in their last 36 league outings at the Bernabeu (25 wins, 10 draws).
Ancelotti's men may not be able to rely on any penalties against Sunday's opponents, however — Imanol Alguacil's team are one of just two clubs in the division yet to concede from the spot.
Girona vs Barcelona (Saturday, 3.15pm)
Leaders Barcelona have secured 44 points from their 17 games so far — and history suggests they are now in prime position to claim their first LaLiga title since 2019.
In four of the last five campaigns in which the club have amassed at least as many points at this stage, they have gone on to win the league, only failing to do so in 2013-14.
Xavi's men have built their success on the foundations of a solid defence, with no side in Europe's top 10 leagues keeping more clean sheets than their 13 this term.
Girona will hope to deny them a 14th shutout — and their best chance is from the spot. No team in the division has scored more penalties than their six, or has scored a higher percentage of their goals from such situations (23%).
Osasuna vs Atletico Madrid (Sunday, 3.15pm)
Osasuna go into this game just three points and three places behind Atleti, who sit fourth in the table ahead of Matchday 19.
But Los Rojillos do not boast a strong record against Diego Simeone's outfit — they have lost each of their last eight encounters with them, failing to score in six of those.
In fact, since 2009-10, no team has beaten them in LaLiga more times than Atletico (15).
However, Los Colchoneros are winless in their last three league games on the road (one draw, two defeats) and Jagoba Arrasate will hope his side can capitalise on the visitors' poor away form.
Villarreal vs Rayo Vallecano (Monday, 8pm)
If Atleti slip up, Villarreal — who are level on points — will be ready to pounce.
To do so, they must overcome Rayo Vallecano, which is a task they have done with some frequency in recent times.
The Yellow Submarine have triumphed in each of their last four meetings with Monday's opponents and have won seven in a row against them at home.
Additionally, Quique Setien's team are unbeaten in their previous five LaLiga outings (four wins, one draw), while Andoni Iraola's men have lost two of their last three (one win).
Sevilla vs Elche (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Sevilla's 1-0 win over 10-man Cadiz last weekend was a significant moment for the club in their struggle to avoid the drop.
That victory moved them into 15th ahead of this matchday, though they remain just one point clear of the relegation places.
But a home clash with bottom-of-the-league Elche represents the perfect opportunity to increase that gap — and bounce back from a 2-1 midweek Copa del Rey defeat at Osasuna.
Elche have never won a LaLiga game at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in 20 attempts (15 defeats, five draws), losing the last five in a row.
Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli will certainly hope that run continues on Saturday.
The weekend's other games
Almeria vs Espanyol (Friday, 8pm)
Cadiz vs Mallorca (Saturday, 1pm)
Getafe vs Real Betis (Saturday, 8pm)
Real Valladolid vs Valencia (Sunday, 1pm)
Celta Vigo vs Athletic Bilbao (Sunday, 5.30pm)
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