Primera Iberdrola Week 18 Preview: Can Real Sociedad stop runaway leaders Barcelona as Real Madrid returns to action?

Real Sociedad are aiming to stop runaway log leaders Barcelona in a top of the table clash on Sunday at the Centro de Entrenamiento Zubieta.

Primera Iberdrola Week 18 Preview: Can Real Sociedad stop runaway leaders Barcelona as Real Madrid returns to action?

The defending champions, Barcelona, have a tricky away trip to Real Sociedad at the Centro de Entrenamiento Zubieta on Sunday.

Barcelona have not lost a match after 17 games this season whilst Real Sociedad have lost two games with one of the defeats being to the defending champions and the other one to Levante.

The hosts suffered their biggest defeat of the season in the first leg of this encounter in October last year when they lost 8-1 at the Estadi Johan Cruyff.

Both teams have enjoyed a good run of form since their last meeting last year.

Barcelona demolished Sporting Huelva 5-0 in their previous match on Wednesday whilst Real Sociedad won 3-0 over struggling Valencia on the same day.

Barcelona’s inspirational skipper, midfielder Alexia Putellas, will be looking forward to adding to her goal tally which now stands at 24 for the season.

Forwards Lieke Martens and Asisat Oshoala will also look to add to their goal tallies of 15 and 12 respectively.

A win for Sociedad will reduce the gap between the two teams at the top to eight points whilst a win for the visitors will open the gap to 14 points.

Who will be playing Champions League football next season?

Real Madrid have a date on Sunday against bottom-placed Rayo Vallecano at the Ciudad Deportiva Fundación Rayo Vallecano.

Real Madrid, who are among this season’s EUFA Women’s Champions League quarter finalists, are eight points away from the last Champions League spot occupied by Atletico Madrid who are on 31 points.

They are banking on current form which has seen them win two consecutive matches.

A win will boost their chances of another Champions League football appearance next season.

The two teams have met five times and Real Madrid have won four of them and drew the other one.

Another mouth-watering tie is at the Estadio La Palmera on Sunday where UDG Tenerife lock horns with an Alavés side that is aiming to break into the top three.

The hosts had their midweek tie against Real Madrid postponed due to COVID-19 cases in the Madrid side.

A defeat for the home side will see them being tied on points with their opponents which may complicate their fight for third position.

Tenerife lost their last match to Barcelona whilst Alavés won against Madrid CFF to move to fifth position on the log standings.

The two teams have met once and the match ended 1-1 at the Ciudad Deportiva José Luis Compañón in October last year.

The hosts may throw in their new acquisitions in the form of Brazilian forward Giovana dos Santos, known as Giovaninha, Venezuelan midfielder Verónica Herrera and Colombian midfielder Gisela Robledo.

In another match, Atlético Madrid will host struggling Sporting Huelva at the Estadio Wanda Atlético de Madrid Alcalá de Henares on Sunday.

The Madrid side will be hoping to replicate their performance against Villarreal which saw them maintain their third position whilst their opponents suffered a 5-0 loss at the hands of Barcelona.

Sporting Huelva are only two points above the relegation zone and cannot afford to drop more points.

Atlético dominate the head-to-head record having won eight of their last 10 meetings.

Levante host Athletic Club at the Ciudad Deportiva de Buñol - Campo 1 on Sunday.

The visitors are sixth on the log standing with 24 points and a win will take them to 27 points and boost their chances of continental football next season whilst the hosts aim to build on last Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Eibar.

Levante are superior on head-to-head hence and will hope that the record will spring step them and collect maximum points.

A win for Levante will take them to 25 points above Athletic Club in their quest for top three finish.

Fighting for survival

Sevilla host Valencia at the Ramón Cisneros Palacios on Sunday, where the visitors hope to collect maximum points to boost their chances of survival.

Valencia lost 3-0 in their last match against second placed Real Sociedad whilst Sevilla won 2-1 over struggling Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday.

Valencia used to dominate this fixture until 2018 when the tide tipped in Sevilla’s favour, who have gone on to win three of their last five meetings and drawn the other two.

A win for Sevilla will boost their chances of moving into the top five whilst a loss for Valencia will throw them down the abyss.

Real Betis host Eibar at the Ciudad Deportiva Luis del Sol on Sunday.

A win for Betis will move them up the log standings and a loss for Eibar might push them down in the event that Villarreal win their match against Madrid CFF.

The clash is evenly balanced if the head-to-head record is considered. The two teams have met three times and each has won once and drawn once.

Eibar lost their last match to Levante whilst Betis drew with Athletic Club.

Villarreal face Madrid CFF at the Estadio Municipal Nuevo Matapiñonera on Saturday.

Villarreal lost 5-0 to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday whilst Madrid CFF lost 2-1 against Alaves in their last match on the same day.

The hosts will be banking on club top goalscorer forward Geyse Ferreira for goals.

The two teams met in November last year and Madrid CFF won 3-0 with goals from defender Silvia Rubio and forward Geyse Ferreira.

Fixtures (Saturday): Madrid CFF vs Villarreal (12:00)

Fixtures (Sunday): Real Betis vs Eibar (11:00); Levante vs Athletic Club (11:00); Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid (11:00); Atlético Madrid vs Sporting Huelva (11:30); Sevilla vs Valencia (12:00); Real Sociedad vs Barcelona (12:00); UDG Tenerife vs Alavés (13:00)

All times are in Central European Time (CET)

(Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)