LaLiga Matchday 21: Sensational Sevilla look to hunt down Real
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Sevilla will be looking to take advantage of a reduced Matchday 21 fixture list by closing the gap on leaders Real Madrid to just two points with victory over Valencia on Wednesday night.
Elsewhere, Alaves head to Real Betis aiming to climb out of the relegation zone, at least temporarily, with 17th-placed Getafe hosting Granada in the final game of the round on Thursday.
Here is everything you need to know about all the upcoming LaLiga action.
Game of the week: Valencia vs Sevilla (Wednesday, 8.30pm)
Sevilla know that securing three points in their game in hand over Los Blancos will keep them firmly in the title race. Valencia, in contrast, will just want to return to winning ways following successive league defeats.
Julen Lopetegui’s men have won five of their last six league matches — only dropping points in a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in which they went down to 10 men — and have the second-best away record in the division.
Valencia’s recent losses to Espanyol and Real were their first since October but they have only kept one clean sheet in eight games. That does not bode too well against opponents who have scored in each of their last 13 LaLiga outings.
Here are the other games to watch this week…
Elche vs Villarreal (Sunday, 1pm)
Elche are looking for back-to-back league victories for the first time this season as they entertain a Villarreal side aiming to move into the European spots.
A 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid last time out ended a four-game LaLiga winning streak for the visitors but they have not lost in the league since early December. However, the Yellow Submarine have picked up just one away win this term.
The hosts have only lost twice at home so far, although five of their nine matches at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero have finished all square — including a goalless draw with Granada to begin 2022.
Real Betis vs Alaves (Tuesday, 7pm)
Alaves will hope to take advantage of Betis’ recent slump in a bid to escape the bottom three.
The visitors have drawn their last two games, with the hosts winning one of their last four games before Saturday's Copa del Rey derby against Sevilla was suspended.
The tie was abandoned after Sevilla midfielder Joan Jordan was struck by an object thrown by the Betis fans.
Returning their attention back to their league form, Manuel Pellegrini's side will be confident of victory against Tuesday's opponents — they have won all of the last three meetings.
Borja Iglesias was Los Verdiblancos' late hero in the reverse fixture in October, netting an 89th-minute winner.
Cadiz vs Espanyol (Tuesday, 8.30pm)
Cadiz are in increasingly desperate need of a win, having not tasted LaLiga victory since early November — and only twice all season. They face an Espanyol outfit who have been stuck in a loss-win sequence for the last nine league games.
The hosts, who sit second-bottom, are one of only two teams in Europe’s top five leagues without a home win this season (the other being Genoa). They have also scored a LaLiga-low six home goals, two of which have come from the penalty spot.
However, Espanyol have won just one league win on the road this season, taking only six points overall on their travels — the fourth-fewest in the division. That victory did come in their last away match though, 2-1 against Valencia, to end 2021.
Celta Vigo vs Osasuna (Wednesday, 6pm)
Celta Vigo will be aiming to return to winning ways against an Osasuna team who recorded their first win in three months last time out.
But Eduardo Coudet’s unit have the second-worst home record in LaLiga, losing six and winning only two of 10 matches at Balaidos this term. They did beat Espanyol 3-1 in the most recent of those 10, however.
The visitors have fared reasonably well on the road this season, winning four and drawing two. That said, those four victories were in their first four away outings of the campaign.
Getafe vs Granada (Thursday, 6pm)
After stunning Carlo Ancelotti's Real in their opening game of 2021, Getafe lost for the first time in seven league matches last time out — going down 1-0 to Sevilla.
The hosts know that a win here will keep them outside the relegation zone but they face a Granada team who are on their own seven-match unbeaten LaLiga run.
Getafe have scored a league-low 13 goals this season, drawing a blank in 11 of their 20 games so far. 10 of those strikes have come at home at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, though.
Granada have been extremely efficient from set-pieces this term, scoring eight goals (a third of their total) from such situations — the second-most in the division — despite attempting the third-fewest shots from them (51).
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