LaLiga Matchday 7: History hints red-hot Real can protect perfect start
Real Madrid are out to extend their perfect start to the LaLiga campaign when they host Osasuna searching for a seventh successive league win.
Meanwhile, second-placed Barcelona have a record of their own to maintain and travel to Mallorca in the hope of also remaining unbeaten.
Underperforming Sevilla and Atletico Madrid meet at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan as they bid to turn their seasons around, while high-fliers Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao face Celta Vigo and Almeria respectively.
Game of the week: Real Madrid vs Osasuna (Sunday, 8pm)
Fifth-placed Osasuna have matched their best-ever start to a LaLiga season and are the latest obstacle in Real’s path as they chase a seventh win in seven — but history is on the champions’ side.
They have not lost to their upcoming visitors in the league since 2011 and not at home since 2004. Additionally, they have kept clean sheets in each of the last three such meetings.
Furthermore, Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti has not lost any of his six games against Los Rojillos in all competitions (four wins, two draws), keeping four clean sheets in those encounters.
Mallorca vs Barcelona (Saturday, 8pm)
Mallorca will not be looking forward to the visit of unbeaten Barcelona.
They have lost each of their last nine LaLiga games against the Blaugrana and have also been beaten in 12 of their last 13 meetings in the competition at home (one win).
Barca boast the second-best expected goals tally (18.2) in Europe’s top five leagues and the best expected goals against tally (3.6), scoring 16 times and conceding just once in the Spanish top flight so far.
Robert Lewandowski has been in lethal form since swapping Bavaria for Catalonia, scoring eight goals in his first six league games of the season.
Sevilla vs Atletico Madrid (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Both these sides are enduring disappointing seasons and need to generate some momentum — starting with a victory in this fixture.
Sevilla's recent home league record against Atleti is strong, avoiding defeat in each of their last four such meetings and winning the last two.
However, the hosts are one of five teams in the Spanish top flight who are yet to lead for a single minute at home, while the visitors have led for the second-longest period as visitors in the competition (149 minutes).
Yet Atleti boss Diego Simeone has rarely got the better of his opposite number Julen Lopetegui in LaLiga.
The Argentine’s win percentage of just 14.3% (one win, four draws, two defeats) against Lopetegui is the second-lowest he has recorded against any manager he has faced at least four times in the competition.
Celta Vigo vs Real Betis (Sunday, 3.15pm)
Surprise package Betis sit third in LaLiga and will be hoping to maintain their positive start when they visit Celta.
Los Verdiblancos have lost just one of their last eight LaLiga games against Celta (four wins, three draws) and have avoided defeat in six of their last seven away league meetings with them (three wins, three draws).
Betis’ recent record on the road in the league is remarkable, losing just one of their last eight (three wins, four draws) and not losing successive away games in the competition since December 2020.
However, Celta will be hoping star striker Iago Aspas can continue his impressive scoring streak against them, having netted eight goals in 13 league clashes.
He has scored more braces against Los Verdiblancos than any other side in the competition (three).
Athletic Bilbao vs Almeria (Friday, 8pm)
Impressive Bilbao have taken the most points from their opening six league games of a campaign since 1993 and sit fourth in the table.
Almeria, meanwhile, have lost their last three LaLiga outings to nil and have failed to register a single win when they have opened the scoring, losing a league-high five points after doing so.
The history also makes for poor reading for the visitors. Athletic have triumphed in seven of their last eight meetings (one draw), with the Basque outfit winning each of the last four at home.
The weekend’s other games
Cadiz vs Villarreal (Saturday, 1pm)
Getafe vs Real Valladolid (Saturday, 3.15pm)
Espanyol vs Valencia (Sunday, 1pm)
Girona vs Real Sociedad (Sunday, 5.30pm)
Rayo Vallecano vs Elche (Monday, 8pm)