Madrid, Oct 15 (IANS) The La Liga returns to action this weekend after the international break with both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid playing at home against rivals they should beat with ease.
Real Madrid kick off on Saturday afternoon against Levante, who have won just one game this season, reports Xinhua.
Rafael Benitez’s side will be without the injured Croatian midfielder Luka Modric and French forward Karim Benzema.
And the coach has been trying to calm the waters between strikers Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo after unfortunate comments by Bale’s agent, who commented in clear allusion to the latter that his client did a lot more than sell underwear.
Sergio Ramos should return to the Real defense after missing the international matches with a shoulder injury.
Sevilla test their upturn in form which saw them defeat Barcelona 2-1 a fortnight ago when they visit Eibar — a tough side to beat on home turf and with only one defeat all campaign.
Barcelona will have to put memories or their defeat to Sevilla behind them when Rayo Vallecano visit the Camp Nou Stadium.
Rayo’s attacking style tends to leave them open against Barcelona, but Luis Enrique’s side is without the injured striker Lionel Messi and midfield talisman Andres Iniesta, while there is also a doubt over the fitness of striker Luis Suarez, who has not trained for three days this week.
If Suarez doesn’t recover, Neymar will have to lead the Barcelona attack with youngsters Munir and Sandro Ramirez in support.
Saturday could be a difficult night for under-pressure Valencia coach Nuno Espiritu Santo as his side takes on Malaga. Malaga have only scored in one game this season, (their last game), but they showed they are defensively tough in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium three weeks ago as they drew 0-0 away against Real.
A similar result on Saturday would almost certainly see the handkerchiefs waved in protest in the Mestalla Stadium yet again before Saturday’s games end with Real Betis playing at home to Espanyol.
Betis have been good on the road this campaign and will hope for 3 points against Espanyol whose squad looks considerably weaker than last season.
Sunday kicks off with what could be a thrilling game as league leaders Villarreal entertain Celta Vigo, who third in the table on goal difference behind Real.
Both sides have played open attacking football this season and it promises to be a fascinating between two early season pace-setters.
Real Sociedad have disappointed so far and coach David Moyes would find the pressure eased if his side can perform against Atletico Madrid. Atletico have looked sluggish at times this campaign but former Sociedad striker Antoine Griezmann is in form and will be the main threat against his former club.
An improving Getafe entertain Las Palmas, who have so far been unable to turn attacking football into points, before Athletic Club Bilbao look to confirm their improvement away to Deportivo la Coruna and the round of games ends on Monday when Sporting Gijon entertain Granada.