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Atletico Madrid will be looking to hold on to their spot at LaLiga's summit this weekend
Atletico Madrid will be looking to hold on to their spot at LaLiga's summit this weekend

Spain’s four title challengers go head-to-head in a potentially decisive weekend in LaLiga.

Barcelona host Atletico Madrid knowing three points would see them overtake their table-topping opponents, while Sevilla travel to Real Madrid needing a win to remain in title contention.

With Europa League places also on the line and four teams above rock-bottom Eibar separated by just a point, everything is perfectly poised for another rollercoaster round of games in the Spanish top flight.

Real Sociedad vs Elche (Friday, 8pm)

A win for Elche tonight would heap the pressure on their relegation rivals but they will come up against a Real Sociedad side embroiled in a three-way fight for Europa League football.

Only Barcelona and Sevilla (both 5.41) have allowed fewer shots against them from inside the box per 90 minutes than the Basque outfit (5.5), so Elche face a challenge breaking down their resilient backline.

Los Franjiverdes have created the least chances (4.71) and big chances (0.71) per 90 in LaLiga this season and have only won once in their last nine outings.

It would be a major surprise if they were to come away from the Anoeta Stadium with all three points.

Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid (Saturday, 3.15pm)

Barcelona are the sharpest shooters in LaLiga this season
Barcelona are the sharpest shooters in LaLiga this season

All eyes will be on the Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon for what will surely be a defining match in the 2020-21 season.

Only two points separate LaLiga’s highest scoring sides but recent form would suggest Barcelona might just have the edge over leaders Atletico Madrid. 

If we compare the two teams over their last 10 games, the Blaugrana have scored more goals (2.7 vs 1.4), had more shots (14.5 vs 11.6) and created more chances (10.9 vs 9.1) per 90 minutes.

But Atleti supporters will no doubt point to their imperious backline that has stood them in good stead all season — they have conceded just 0.6 goals per 90 over that period, compared with 1.1 for Barca.

Saturday's other games

Alaves vs Levante (1pm)
Cadiz vs Huesca (5.30pm)
Athletic Club vs Osasuna (8pm)

Valencia vs Real Valladolid (Sunday, 3.15pm)

Valencia are in the midst of a woeful run of form that has seen them go six games without a win — but they should have enough points on the board to avoid being sucked into a relegation dogfight. 

In contrast, Real Valladolid are already deep in the mire, so will view a visit to the Mestalla as the perfect opportunity to pull away from the drop zone.

Expect there to be goals in this match as two dismal defences go head-to-head. 

No team has allowed more shots against them from inside the box than Los Che (8.85 per 90) in 2020-21, while the visitors’ three clean sheets all season is the worst record in LaLiga.

Real Madrid vs Sevilla (Sunday, 8pm)

Karim Benzema and Youssef En-Nesyri will go head-to-head on Sunday
Karim Benzema and Youssef En-Nesyri will go head-to-head on Sunday

Winning the title looks a tall order for Sevilla after their surprise 1-0 defeat to Athletic Club on Monday, so victory in the capital is essential if Los Palanganas want to keep their slim hopes alive.

But Madrid will be just as desperate for three points — regardless of what happens between fellow title-chasers Barca and Atletico. 

The hosts are on an incredible 14-match unbeaten run in LaLiga, while Sevilla had won five on the bounce before Inaki Williams’ late winner for Athletic brought that hot streak to an end.

The aerial battle could be key to deciding this one — Madrid (16) and their Andalusian visitors (11) have scored more headed goals than every other team in Spain’s top tier.

Sunday's other games

Getafe vs Eibar (1pm
Villarreal vs Celta Vigo (5.30pm)

Real Betis vs Granada (Monday, 8pm)

Granada’s hopes of securing European football are in the last chance saloon — they will need to beat Real Betis to close the gap between the sides to just three points.

Los Verdiblancos have drawn a remarkable six straight matches — something they have never done in their history — and have failed to score in two of their last three.

There will not be a better time to put that right than against LaLiga’s worst defence. Granada have conceded an average of 1.62 goals per 90 this season, while only three teams have managed more shots than Betis’ 11.74 per 90.

Win on Monday night and the green and white half of Seville can start preparing for Europe next season.

Tags

Real SociedadElcheBarcelonaAtletico MadridValenciaReal ValladolidReal MadridSevillaReal BetisGranada

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