La Liga: Real Madrid and Real Mallorca looking to take advantage of postponed Barcelona fixture

After a two-week break for international matches, La Liga will resume this weekend. There are some cracking matches to look forward to, which will affect both ends of the table. We will look ahead to Athletic Bilbao v Real Mallorca on Saturday evening, and then 24 hours later, Real Madrid will host Celta Vigo.

Real Madrid ready to pick things up from where they left off

Real Madrid have already stamped their authority in the early parts of the campaign. Against Real Betis before the international break, Real eked out a 1-0 victory. With matches coming thick and fast, including a tricky looking Champions League encounter with Inter Milan, Carlo Ancelotti’s men have to keep their feet firmly on the pedal.

More significantly, Real Madrid’s stars have hit top form during the international break. Gareth Bale hit a hat-trick for Wales against Belarus, while Eden Hazard netted a treble for Belgium against the Czech Republic. Ancelotti has settled upon a system, and now they will be relishing facing strugglers Vigo.

Carlo Ancelotti to welcome four stars back for visit of Celta Vigo

Real Madrid have been blighted by injuries already in the early part of the season which has seen them shuffle the pack. However, Ancelotti could have four stars fit by the time they take on Vigo. Among them includes Nacho Fernandez, who missed the win over Betis with a muscular problem, as well as Luka Modric.

Real Madrid may have found unlikely free-kick taker in their ranks

Before Sergio Ramos departed for pastures new over the summer when he joined Paris Saint-Germain, he was their main free-kick taker. However, there could be a new set-piece candidate who may appear ready to take over duties. Fede Valverde scored a cracking free-kick during the international break with Uruguay against Bolivia, and he may well stick his hand up.

Real Madrid v Celta Vigo: Looking back on past encounters

Real Madrid will have no qualms about facing Celta Vigo, and recent history shows that it has been a largely one-sided affair. Last term, Real enjoyed a routine 2-0 victory at the Bernabeu, with Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio grabbing the goals. It could be a similar story this weekend.

Athletic Bilbao make solid start to La Liga campaign

With five points gained from their first three matches, Athletic Bilbao have made a solid start. After picking up two draws in their first two games, they beat Vigo 1-0 on their last outing. Inaki Williams grabbed the only goal of the game, and in some ways, it felt like a smash-and-grab win.

Bilbao didn’t see as much of the ball as they would have liked, but they held their nerve and took their chance when it came along. They also made considerably fewer passes (314) compared to Vigo (517) who have been rather toothless upfront.

However, Real Mallorca have made a splendid start to the season, picking up seven points from their opening three games, and they sit sixth in the table. With Barcelona’s clash against Sevilla postponed this weekend, this would give Real Mallorca the opportunity to leapfrog both teams with a win.

Athletic Bilbao v Real Mallorca: How past matches have unfolded

Past matches can often be a good gauge for how things might unfold. In the overall head-to-head, Bilbao have won 15 of the 34 encounters, while Mallorca have claimed 12 wins. When the sides last met in January 2020, Bilbao ran out 3-1 winners.

A Raul Garcia penalty in the 16th minute established a platform for Bilbao. Ohian Sancet doubled Bilbao’s advantage, and although Ante Buidimir pulled one back for Mallorca 20 minutes from time, Asier Villalibre rubber-stamped the victory deep in stoppage time. This has the ingredients to be a classic.

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