La Liga is back after a two-week international break; defending champions and current leaders FC Barcelona will host one of the bottom teams, Racing Santander.
In theory this should be a straight forward home win for the Spanish giants but it becomes a lot more interesting when you consider Barcelona’s traditional post-international break woes. Barcelona are still huge favorites, but Hector Cuper might fancy his team’s chances of causing an upset at Camp Nou.
Barcelonacoach Pep Guardiola still has a number of first team squad players out with injury. Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez are still shelved with hamstring injuries and Ibrahim Afellay recently underwent surgery on his knee and will be out of action for six months.
However, the Catalan club will be buoyed by the return of Andres Iniesta who has resumed training after recovering from his hamstring tear.
Real Betis’ great start to the season was ended before the international break with defeats to Getafe and Levante ending a four-match winning streak which had seen them top the table on their return to the top flight.
A trip to the Bernabeu is probably not the kind of assignment Betis would choose as they bid to arrest that mini-slump but Casto is confident the Andalucians can spring a surprise if they stick to their customary gameplan.
Betis boss Pepe Mel, who this week has been promoting his first novel entitled ‘The Liar’, has a near fully-fit squad to choose from.
Jefferson Montero, Dusko Tosic, Mario and Ruben Castro have all returned from injury with long-term absentee Nelson the only player unavailable.
Real Madrid go into the game on the back of a three-match winning run in all competitions.
A 6-2 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano lifted the gloom after a poor run and was followed up with a 3-0 defeat of Ajax in the Champions League and a 4-0 victory at Espanyol.
Mourinho will be able to call on Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria, Marcelo and Raphael Varane after the quintet were able to join in full training on Thursday.
Granada will take on Atletico Madrid, aiming to add to their two goals in the top flight so far this season in six games.
Getafe host Villarreal, and Mallorca entertain a Valencia side sitting in fifth place in La Liga, in other Saturday fixtures.
Levante have a massive test to maintain their second placing in the La Liga standings as they prepare to host Malaga on Sunday. Four straight victories for Juan Ignacio Martinez’s men have seen them climb the table early in the season, however a summer of signings for Malaga have them flying high in fourth – one point shy of leaders Barcelona.
Levante are level with the Spanish champions on 14 points, rendering their clash at the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia on Sunday an important one to hold their spot.
Also on Sunday, Real Zaragoza will host Real Sociedad , promoted Rayo Vallecano welcome Espanyol , and Sevilla play host to bottom side Sporting Gijon.
Incoming search terms:
- andres iniesta
- Gambar Iniesta