LALIGA MD19 PREVIEW: Girona host Barca, as Madrid face stern Sociedad test
This weekend brings up Matchday 19 of the 2022/23 LaLiga Santander season, the final round of the first half of the campaign.
The action stays in the south of Spain for the first fixture of Saturday, which is Cádiz CF vs RCD Mallorca. Given that the Andalusian side are currently in the relegation zone, they need to start picking points up quickly, especially at home.
A Catalan derby then follows at the Estadi Montilivi, as Girona FC welcomes FC Barcelona for just the fifth ever LaLiga Santander meeting between these clubs. Barça won 3-0 and 2-0 in their previous two visits to Girona FC’s home ground and will hope to achieve another victory in the neighbouring city in order to secure their position as winter champions, meaning that they’d be top of the table at the midway stage of the season.
Sevilla FC then have a second home game in a row and they’ll hope for another big win in front of their fans, just like they achieved last weekend thanks to a late Ivan Rakitić penalty.
This time they’ll take on bottom-placed Elche CF and Jorge Sampaoli knows that this is the kind of game that Los Nervionenses need to win if they’re to pull away from the relegation zone.
The last of Saturday’s games is between two sides who have lost their past three matches, as Getafe CF host Real Betis. Both these clubs need something to cheer about, so will be giving their all in the south of Madrid this Saturday night.
There are four more fixtures on Sunday, with Real Valladolid vs Valencia CF first up. With Real Valladolid having dropped into the bottom three, they’ll be determined to win this weekend and will hope that their new striker, Canada international Cyle Larin, can fire them to victory.
CA Osasuna against Atlético de Madrid is next up, as Atleti hope to keep up their fantastic record against the Pamplona-based club. Los Colchoneros have won their past eight clashes with CA Osasuna, scoring 22 and conceding two in that run.
After that, Athletic Club will be chasing their first LaLiga Santander win of 2023 when they visit RC Celta. The Basque side have had a tough run since the resumption of club football, but they’ll hope to win in Galicia just like they did last season when an Iñaki Williams goal earned them a 1-0 win.
There is then a huge match on Sunday night at 21:00 CET, as second-placed Real Madrid welcome third-placed Real Sociedad to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.
Both these clubs boast several in-form players, such as Karim Benzema, Vinícius, and Thibaut Courtois for Los Blancos or Alexander Sørloth, Takefusa Kubo and Brais Méndez for La Real. It should be a spectacle when they face off, as both these sides seek important LaLiga Santander points.
The matchday then concludes with a very attractive fixture on Monday, as Villarreal CF and Rayo Vallecano meet at the Estadio de la Cerámica. Both these sides play thrilling brands of football, given that Quique Setién’s outfit are one of the best possession football sides around and given that Andoni Iraola’s Rayo Vallecano play incredibly vertical football.