La Liga 19-20/02/2022: Real Madrid host struggling Alaves, Barcelona take Valencia road trip
La Liga provided plenty of drama last weekend. The Barcelona derby between Barcelona and Espanyol, as well as Atletico Madrid’s seven-goal thriller against Getafe perfectly encapsulated this. Anyway, we are looking ahead to two crunch games this weekend – Real Madrid v Alaves on Saturday, and Valencia v Barcelona on Sunday evening. We will also check in on the latest match odds.
Real Madrid see lead trimmed at the top
There’s no doubting that Real Madrid have underlined their title credentials this season. However, there have also been some times when they have wobbled. But against Villarreal, they were unlucky not to come away with three points. Gareth Bale – who was making his first club appearance in almost six months – came close to opening the scoring.
The Welshman crashed an effort against the bar, and he was the most threatening player. With Karim Benzema out, Vinicius Jr was hoping to be more of a creative spark, but he couldn’t influence the game in the way he would have hoped. After a frustrating goalless draw, Real’s lead at the top of La Liga has been trimmed to four points.
Real Madrid won’t get Sergio Ramos reunion
Real Madrid’s thoughts will quickly be turning to the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain. However, Sergio Ramos, who switched the Bernabeu for the French giants last summer, has been ruled out of the blockbuster European clash with a calf issue. Ramos has made only five appearances since joining PSG last summer.
Alaves break losing streak against Valencia
After six defeats in eight La Liga outings, Alaves ended their torrid run of form with a 2-1 win at home to Valencia last weekend. A Joselu penalty 14 minutes from time settled things in Alaves’ favour, and hopefully, they can build on that. Currently, Alaves are 18th in La Liga, three points adrift of safety.
Real Madrid v Alaves: Looking back on past encounters
Alaves will probably be dreading a visit to the Bernabeu. Last season, Real Madrid enjoyed a rousing 4-1 victory with Benzema grabbing a double, while Eden Hazard and Casemiro were also on target. When you think that earlier this campaign, Alaves crashed to a 4-1 defeat, they could be in for a long evening!
Barcelona looking good for a top-four finish
There’s still a lot of football to be played between now and the end of the season. However, Barcelona showed grit and determination to salvage a point against Espanyol. A last-gasp equaliser from Frenkie De Jong proved to be vital, and it ensured Barca remain in the top four.
In terms of individual performances, Adama Traore shone. After joining from Wolves during the January transfer window on loan, Traore provided his second assist in as many games. There also seems to be a growing belief in the Xavi project, who has instilled some much-needed confidence in his side.
Meanwhile, Ronald Araujo was withdrawn at half-time with Espanyol after pulling a muscle in his left leg. He was replaced by Eric Garcia, who was making his first appearance in five weeks. And Garcia may have to fill in for Araujo at the weekend.
Valencia v Barcelona: Reflecting on past clashes
Over the years, this clash has provided plenty of goals. While Valencia may not be happy with their mid-table position, they will be hoping to throw a spanner in the works! Earlier in the campaign, Barcelona ran out 3-1 winners over Los Che at the Nou Camp.
On that day, Fati, Memphis Depay, and Philippe Coutinho got in on the scoresheet. Barca were too good on that day, and they have made massive strides over the past few months. They could well prove to be too strong for Valencia, and the evens price suggests this.
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