LaLiga Preview: Match Day 11

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The top of LaLiga has an unfamiliar look after 10 rounds of the competition so far this term.

Real Sociedad stayed in top spot thanks to a 1-0 win at Cadiz last weekend, while Atletico Madrid moved up to second after beating Barcelona by the same scoreline at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Barcelona’s defeat in the capital was their third of the campaign already – all against teams from Madrid – and Ronald Koeman’s side are down in 13th with just 11 points from their eight games.

Champions Real Madrid also lost ground on the leaders after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Villarreal, now in third position.

LaLiga Match of the Weekend: Valencia vs Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid remain unbeaten in LaLiga this season and are just three points off the top with two games in hand on leaders Real Sociedad.

Boosted by last weekend’s win over Barcelona, which was the Rojiblancos’ first league victory against the Catalans since Diego Simeone took over in 2011, Atletico travel to Valencia in the 11th round of the competition on Saturday.

Valencia appear to have put their early-season problems behind them and are unbeaten in their last three games since a run of three straight defeats in October.

Javi Gracia’s side thrashed Real Madrid 4-1 in their last game at home and the trip to Mestalla will represent another test to Atletico’s title credentials.

Atletico will be without the injured trio of Diego Costa, Hector Herrera and Sime Vrsaljko, while Luis Suarez and Lucas Torreira may miss out again after testing positive for coronavirus recently.

Midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, who moved from Valencia to Atletico earlier this month as a replacement for Thomas Partey, has made just two brief substitute appearances so far for Simeone’s side and is set to start on the bench again.

Valencia, in ninth place with 12 points from their 10 games, will be without goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen and left-back Jose Gaya. Both are injured, while defender Mouctar Diakhaby is doubtful.

Rest of the Weekend

The 11th round of LaLiga kicks off on Friday with the meeting of two struggling sides as 17th-placed Real Valladolid host Levante (in 18th).

Cadiz, impressing in fifth on their return to the top flight, travel to Elche (10th) in Saturday’s early game. And after Valencia vs Atletico, Sevilla are in action away to 19th-placed Huesca. Following a disappointing run of three straight losses in October, Julen Lopetegui’s side have won their last two and will be looking for a win to move closer to the Champions League spots again after last season’s fourth-placed finish.

Real Madrid will be without captain Sergio Ramos for their game at home to 15th-placed Alaves later on Saturday, while striker Karim Benzema could also miss out again with an adductor problem.

If the French forward is deemed unfit and Luka Jovic is still unavailable, Mariano Diaz will start his third successive match for Los Blancos, currently in fourth place and six points off the lead with a game in hand.

On Sunday, Barcelona host 14th-placed Osasuna in the early game, with defender Gerard Pique out for the long term after suffering a serious knee injury against Atletico last weekend.

Coach Koeman is also without Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti and Ansu Fati, but Sergio Busquets could be available again as he recovers from the problem he picked up with Spain on international duty earlier this month. Ronald Araujo is doubtful.

Later in the day, 11th-placed Getafe host Athletic Club (in eighth), with bottom club Celta Vigo in action at home to Granada (sixth).

Leaders Real Sociedad welcome third-placed Villarreal in Sunday’s late game at the Reale Arena, with both of those teams aiming to prove they can challenge at the summit over a long season.

The Basques are currently top with 23 points from their 10 games, four ahead of Unai Emery’s Villarreal. Both sides have lost only once in LaLiga so far this term.

Real Betis (in 12th) bring the 11th round of games to a close with their match at home to Eibar (16th) on Monday night.

LaLiga player to watch: Yannick Carrasco – Atletico Madrid – £0.50

In his second spell at Atletico Madrid after almost two years in the Chinese Super League with Dalian Professional, Yannick Carrasco is important again for the Rojiblancos.

The 27-year-old Belgian winger scored the winner as Atletico beat Barcelona 1-0 last weekend and also stood out with an intense showing in that match at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Coach Simeone said in July that Carrasco was becoming ‘decisive’ again and the Argentine will hope the former Monaco player can chip in with more goals in the absence of Diego Costa and Luis Suarez.

Carrasco hit 14 in his standout season for Atleti in 2016-17 and also netted in the Champions League final for the Rojiblancos in the previous campaign, when Simeone’s side went down on penalties to Real Madrid after a 1-1 draw at San Siro.


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