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El Clasico is the headline fixture in another tantalising weekend of LaLiga action.
As Real Madrid and Barcelona continue to chase down Atletico Madrid at the top of the table, Spain’s traditional powerhouses meet on Saturday night knowing victory for either side could see a changing of the guard at the summit.
But Atleti get to have their say on Sunday, when the league leaders will look to reinforce their title credentials on the road against Real Betis.
Huesca vs Elche (Friday, 8pm)
Friday night sees two of the bottom four go toe-to-toe as Huesca host fellow strugglers Elche.
Buoyed by last week’s 2-0 victory against Levante, Huesca will fancy their chances against LaLiga’s 17th-placed team — and they have every reason to be confident with frontman Rafa Mir in their side.
The Wolves loanee has 10 league goals for the season and four in his last four outings.
Elche can only dream of such potency in the final third — they have the lowest expected goals (xG) total for the entire season at just 22.1.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona (Saturday, 8pm)
Atletico’s 1-0 defeat to Sevilla has breathed new life into Spain’s title race, with both Real and Barcelona now within three points of Diego Simeone’s men.
Second-placed Barca will be relishing an opportunity to take on Madrid’s depleted defence — their average of 2.34 goals per game has been a major factor in the an impressive 19-match unbeaten run.
But Los Blancos are not short of attacking threat themselves, with talisman Karim Benzema bagging eight goals in his last six league appearances.
The Frenchman has six in 23 LaLiga appearances against the Blaugrana.
Saturday's other games
Getafe vs Cadiz (1pm)
Athletic Bilbao vs Alaves (3.15pm)
Eibar vs Levante (5.30pm)
Valencia vs Real Sociedad (Sunday, 3.15pm)
Sociedad’s quest for Europa League football continues with a visit to inconsistent Valencia — in a clash that could be determined by the two teams’ respective defences.
No side has allowed fewer shots against them from inside the box than Sociedad this season (5.07 per 90 minutes), while at the other end of the spectrum Valencia have allowed more than every other club in the division (8.83 per 90).
Real Betis v Atletico Madrid (Sunday, 8pm)
Sunday’s trip to sixth-placed Betis represents a must-win match for Atleti — but the omens are good for Simeone’s outfit.
They have yet to lose back-to-back league matches this season and have lost just one of their last 18 against Los Verdiblancos in all competitions.
Atletico will once again rely on an imperious backline that has kept 14 clean sheets across the campaign, including two in their last three league fixtures.
But the creative talents of Nabil Fekir and Sergio Canales will provide a stern test at the Estadio Benito Villamarin — the duo have 11 LaLiga assists between them in 2020-21.
Sunday's other games
Villarreal vs Osasuna (1pm)
Real Valladolid vs Granada (5.30pm)
Celta Vigo vs Sevilla (Monday, 8pm)
Sevilla look all but assured of Champions League football next season — but they will be hoping to close the gap on third-placed Madrid if Zinedine Zidane’s team drop points in El Clasico.
Attack vs defence may be the order of the day in Galicia.
Only Atletico Madrid (19) have conceded fewer goals than Sevilla (21) this season but they are likely to come under siege from a Celta Vigo side that have created 1.93 big chances per 90 in 2020-21 — the third most in LaLiga.