LaLiga Preview: Match Day 10

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LaLiga returns to action this weekend following the international break for the 10th round of the competition.

Real Sociedad are the surprise leaders at this early stage, with Villarreal in second, Atletico third and Real Madrid in fourth.

Several sides, including Atletico, Real and Barcelona, have played fewer games after starting the season later due to their participation in European competition at the end of last season in August.

LaLiga Match of the Weekend: Atletico vs Barcelona

Atletico are unbeaten in their seven league games so far, with five wins and two draws for Diego Simeone’s side.

The Rojiblancos are just three points behind leaders Real Sociedad, having played two fewer games than the Basque outfit, but will be without their joint-top scorer Luis Suarez this weekend.

Suarez tested positive for coronavirus while away on international duty with Uruguay and will miss the game against his former club.

Midfielder Lucas Torreira is out for the same reason, so Geoffrey Kondogbia looks to be in line for his first start since his recent move from Valencia.

Barcelona thrashed Real Betis 5-2 prior to the international break, but it has been a mixed start to the season so far for Ronald Koeman’s side, with back-to-back defeats against Getafe and Real Madrid in October.

Young forward Ansu Fati is sidelined for four months after suffering a knee injury against Betis and undergoing an operation. Midfielder Sergio Busquets is also out.

Philippe Coutinho is fit again, but looks set to start on the bench, with 17-year-old Pedri in line to start in Fati’s place on the left.

Barcelona’s two previous defeats this term both came in Madrid, but the Catalans have yet to lose a game at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium, which was inaugurated in 2017.

Rest of the weekend

The 10th round of LaLiga kicks off on Friday night as Osasuna, in 13th place, host bottom-of-the-table Huesca in the opening match of the weekend.

Real Madrid are in action away to second-placed Villarreal in Saturday’s early game and Zinedine Zidane’s side will be keen to bounce back from their shock 4-1 loss at Valencia prior to the international break. Los Blancos will be without captain Sergio Ramos, who picked up a muscle injury in Spain’s 6-0 win over Germany this week.

Last season’s Europa League winners, Sevilla, are at home to Celta Vigo later in the day, with Atletico’s game against Barcelona the late fixture on Saturday.

On Sunday, leaders Real Sociedad are away to promoted side Cadiz, impressing so far in sixth place and buoyed by a 1-0 win over Real Madrid in the capital last month.

Valencia, in ninth, are away to Alaves (in 15th) later in the day and will look to build on their own recent victory over Los Blancos.

Struggling Athletic Club, in 14th with just nine points from their eight games in 2020-21, host seventh-placed Real Betis in the final game of the weekend on Monday night.

LaLiga Player to Watch: David Silva – Real Sociedad – £0.65

When Martin Odegaard was recalled by Real Madrid in the middle of a two-year loan agreement in the summer, Real Sociedad looked to have a problem.

However, the Basques moved quickly to sign David Silva from Manchester City and the midfielder has been a joy to watch on his return to LaLiga.

The 34-year-old has slotted in seamlessly, bringing his team-mates into play with his quality passing in the final third and making the team tick as he did for so many years at the Etihad.

Silva has been instrumental in Real Sociedad’s successful start to the season, which sees the San Sebastian side top of the table ahead of this weekend, and with one goal and two assists in LaLiga so far, there should be more to come from the World Cup winner as well.

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