LaLiga Preview: Match Day 13

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Atletico Madrid moved to the top of LaLiga last weekend after beating Real Valladolid 2-0 on Saturday and seeing previous leaders Real Sociedad held to a goalless draw at Deportivo Alaves the following day.

Diego Simeone’s side sit in top spot, one point ahead of the Basque outfit, and are the only unbeaten team in LaLiga this term.

Villarreal remain third after their 0-0 draw at home to Elche last weekend, while Real Madrid stayed in fourth with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Sevilla – their first victory in LaLiga since October 31.

Sevilla are sixth ahead of the 13th round of the competition, with Cadiz in fifth following their excellent 2-1 over Barcelona and the Catalans still struggling down in ninth place – albeit having played two games fewer than many of the sides above them.

LaLiga match of the weekend: Real Madrid vs Atletico

Atletico have won eight matches, drawn two and lost none so far in LaLiga this season, with 21 goals scored and only two conceded.

The Rojiblancos are currently six points ahead of their city rivals and have played one fixture fewer than the champions. Victory in the Madrid derby would therefore represent a huge boost to their title credentials.

Both Madrid and Atletico secured their places in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday. Los Blancos beat Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 at home to seal top spot in Group B, having been in danger of going out, while the Rojiblancos overcame Red Bull Salzburg by the same scoreline in Austria to advance behind Bayern Munich in Group A.

The derby is so often a cagey affair, with just one goal scored in the teams’ last three meetings in all competitions – Karim Benzema’s winner at the Santiago Bernabeu back in February.

Atletico are unbeaten in their previous 26 LaLiga games, with eight clean sheets in their last nine league fixtures.

Madrid, meanwhile, have been much more inconsistent. Los Blancos have lost three times in LaLiga in 2020-21 and have already let in 12 goals.

Rest of the weekend 

The 13th round of LaLiga kicks off on Friday with a meeting between two struggling sides as Real Valladolid (19th) host Osasuna (18th, having played one fewer fixture) at the Jose Zorrilla.

Valencia (13th) then host Athletic Club (14th) in Saturday’s opening game as two of Spain’s historic clubs look to improve on an inconsistent start to the season so far.

Getafe (down in 15th) will want to get back towards the European positions after narrowly missing out on a Europa League place last term. Jose Bordalas’ side, thrashed by lowly Levante last weekend, host sixth-placed Sevilla later on Saturday.

Bottom club Huesca are in action at home to Deportivo Alaves (12th) after that, with the Basques fresh from a credible point against high-flying Real Sociedad last weekend.

The Madrid derby completes Saturday’s action, with Madrid and Atletico featuring in the late match at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

Real Sociedad (second) host Eibar (11th) in another Basque derby on Sunday, with third-placed Villarreal in action away to an inconsistent Real Betis (eighth, with seven losses and five wins so far in LaLiga this term) later on.

Just a point separates Elche (in 10th) from Granada (seventh) and those two teams meet at the Martinez Valero on Sunday. Elche have lost just twice in their 10 games so far in 2020-21, with five draws. Granada have played one more match and have already been beaten four times in the league this season, the Andalusians needing two late goals to rescue a point at home to bottom side Huesca last Sunday.

Barcelona (ninth) host Levante (17th) in Sunday’s late game and will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 2-1 loss at Cadiz and also their shock 3-0 defeat at home to Juventus in midweek.

Levante moved out of the relegation zone after a 3-0 win at home to Getafe last Saturday.

LaLiga player to watch: Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez scored 11 goals in 16 matches against Real Madrid in his time as a Barcelona player and the Uruguayan is likely to be especially motivated for the game against Los Blancos on Saturday.

Suarez has five goals for Atletico in 2020-21, but has not scored in two appearances since returning from a positive Covid-19 test and the 33-year-old reacted angrily to being substituted by coach Diego Simeone against Red Bull Salzburg on Wednesday.

Simeone played down the incident in his post-match press conference and the Argentine will be well aware that his star striker has produced some of his best performances against Madrid, including a hat-trick in a 5-1 Clasico win in 2018.

On Saturday, Simeone will hope Suarez can convert that rage into more goals against Real.

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