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LaLiga Matchday 7: Madrid giants tussle for top spot
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Real Madrid face Villarreal looking to keep up their perfect start with capital rivals Atletico hot on their heels.

It will be a test of squad depth and fitness as the chasing pack look to stay within touching distance of the early table-toppers.

The Matchday 7 action begins on Saturday lunchtime when Atletico Madrid will aim to edge ahead of Los Blancos — for a few hours at least — before their neighbours are in action at the Bernabeu later that day.

Deportivo Alaves vs Atletico Madrid (Saturday, 1pm)

Atleti are just about keeping pace with Carlo Ancelotti’s men at the top of the table and sit just two points behind them at this early stage of the season.

A late brace from Luis Suarez helped the Colchoneros come back from a goal down against Getafe in their midweek outing after the home side had ​​Carles Alena sent off for a dangerous tackle.

On paper, a visit to Alaves should mean Diego Simeone’s men have no problem keeping the pressure on Real — the home side are yet to win in 2021-22 and have only scored one goal in five games.

They have the worst defensive record in the league having already conceded 11 times and are one of only two teams without a point so far, along with Getafe.

Valencia vs Athletic Club (Saturday, 3.15pm)

Carlos Soler is a creative lynchpin in this Valencia side and has chipped in with five goal contributions to date
Carlos Soler is a creative lynchpin in this Valencia side and has chipped in with five goal contributions to date

Athletic Club go into this game on the back of their first defeat of the campaign, which came in a 2-1 reverse against Rayo Vallecano on Tuesday night.

Only Sevilla (two) have conceded fewer goals than Athletic’s three so far this season.

After a promising start, Valencia have now lost two games in a row after suffering defeats against high-flying Real Madrid and Sevilla.

But Jose Bordalas’ outfit have managed to score in each of their five games so far and will be looking to bounce back against an Athletic side who are just behind them in the table.

Valencia’s Carlos Soler has started the season brightly with three goals and two assists, making at least one goal contribution in four of his team’s five games so far.

Sevilla vs Espanyol (Saturday, 5.30pm)

Sevilla’s unbeaten start in LaLiga continued with a 3-1 win against Valencia in midweek.

The goal scored by Los Che striker Hugo Duro in that game was just the second they have conceded in the league this season, and they still boast the division’s best defensive record.

Espanyol have also put in some solid defensive displays so far, keeping clean sheets in three of their six fixtures to date.

The Periquitos picked up their first win of the season against Alaves on Wednesday, which doubled their points tally and pushed them up into mid-table.

Real Madrid vs Villarreal (Saturday, 8pm)

Karim Benzema continues to post remarkable numbers for Real Madrid in LaLiga this season
Karim Benzema continues to post remarkable numbers for Real Madrid in LaLiga this season

Real Madrid have enjoyed a mesmerising start to the season under returning boss Ancelotti.

That is reflected in the sensational form of frontman Karim Benzema, who has a staggering eight goals and seven assists from just six games in LaLiga so far.

Unsurprisingly, that sees the Frenchman top both the goals and assists charts at this early stage, while team-mate Vinicius Junior is not far behind him with five (plus two assists) — helping Real to a league-high total of 21 strikes.

Having drawn all of their games prior to the last round of matches, Villarreal finally picked up their first league win of 2021-22 when they defeated Elche 4-1 on Wednesday.

Given the form their next opponents are in, the Yellow Submarine may well be in line for their first defeat — but with just three goals conceded so far, Unai Emery’s men will be relying on their strong defence in the capital.

Barcelona vs Levante (Sunday, 3.15pm)

Levante are one of four teams without a win so far this season and will be looking to put that right when they travel to Barcelona.

The omens are not good though, as Levante are yet to pick up so much as a point from their games against Barca at the Camp Nou.

But given the Blaugrana’s current situation, Levante may see an opportunity to change that this weekend.

The Catalans’ struggles continued in midweek, when they could only pick up a point against Cadiz. 

Frenkie De Jong was sent off for two bookable offences in the space of a few minutes, and Barca could easily have lost the game.

That draw means Ronald Koeman’s side are already seven points behind leaders Real, though they do have a game in hand.

Sunday’s other games

Mallorca vs Osasuna (1pm

Real Sociedad vs Elche (5.30pm

Rayo Vallecano vs Cadiz (5.30pm

Real Betis vs Getafe (8pm)

Monday’s game

Celta Vigo vs Granada (8pm)


LaLigaDeportivo AlavesAtletico MadridValenciaAthletic BilbaoSevillaEspanyolReal MadridVillarrealBarcelonaLevante
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