February Pivotal in Relegation Battle
La Liga’s relegation battles are just as intense as any other regular league match - but with more on the line. With the season’s end drawing near, teams will need to pick up the pace if they want to continue playing in Spain’s top division of football.
It’s not just survival they’re battling for but also a chance to play in European competitions against other equally great clubs from different nations, as well as winning the La Liga title. With this, here are some of the must-watch matches in the days to come.
Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid will be looking forward to drawing blood against Real Madrid when they face each other at the Santiago Bernabeu on the first day of February. It’s worth mentioning that Atletico will look to win this match after their controversial loss in the Spanish Supercopa. This match will also be of importance to them if they are looking to win the league title.
Matches between the two clubs don’t often result in a high number of goals scored but are always intense. Their recent match in Saudi Arabia serves as proof, so does the average of six cards being shown in their last five matches.
Getafe v Valencia
Valencia surprised La Liga when they beat Getafe for a Champions League spot last season, which meant that the latter participated in the Europa League instead. That being the case, Jose Bordalas has taken into account the possibility of playing in the Europa League again and is focusing on that while also aiming for a top-seven league finish.
Both teams, should they win, will have a significant advantage in their respective European tournaments with Getafe showing they are also capable of winning, holding a record of three La Liga losses in the past 12 months.
Real Betis v Barcelona
Quique Setien, Barcelona’s new manager, will face his old club when they head to the Estadio Benito Villamarin for a match against Real Betis. Unlike the past seasons, Barcelona will have to work hard to defend their La Liga title. He repeatedly admitted that, in the past, he always wanted to coach for Barcelona. Now that he has the job, he needs to deliver - consistently - if he wants to keep his job and for them to retain their league title.
Real Sociedad v Athletic Bilbao
It may not seem much but these two clubs are setting up for a possible return to the Champions League next season given their performance. Sociedad has missed the competition since 2014 while Bilbao’s last participation in the said tournament was in 2015. Both clubs have their sights on the fourth spot which is anyone’s at this point in the season.
Words: Carlos Corpus