Primera Iberdrola Week 9 Preview: A battle royale is forming
After eight games in the Primera Iberdrola, there seems to be only one team destined for the title. FC Barcelona don’t look like they will lose a match anytime soon and are six points clear at the top. However, a more interesting battle is happening just below them in the league. Five teams are in what seems to be an intriguing battle for second and third spots, the final European places, though it’s still a long way to go. Barcelona are making a long trip to Eibar on Saturday on the back of eight wins from the opening eight matches scoring 51 goals and conceding only two goals in the process. They will be looking forward to another comfortable win before turning their attention to the UEFA Women’s Champions League against Hoffenheim on Wednesday at the Estadi Johan Cruyff. On the other hand, Eibar will be looking forward to their second win after winning 3-1 away to Madrid CFF in week 8. Their last two meetings saw Barcelona win comfortably both home and away scoring 12 goals and conceding only one goal.
Battle for Champions League spots
There are five teams currently looking to occupy second and third spots on the log standings which guarantees them Champions League places at the end of the campaign.
Real Sociedad look to bounce back from their humiliating 8-1 defeat at the hands of Barcelona in week eight and maintain their grip on second spot when they host the in-form Real Betis tomorrow. Sociedad suffered back to back defeats which derailed their pursuit of Barcelona at the top while Betis have won three of their last four matches. Betis have won once in their last five trips to Real Sociedad and that last win came in November 2016 while the other four matches ended in three wins for Sociedad and a single draw.
Real battle will be on the fixture pitting Athletic Bilbao and Levante where a defeat for either side will see them drop to sixth position if Alavés win their match away to Sevilla later in the day. Bilbao have been playing well of late registering five wins and a draw in their first eight fixtures of the campaign whilst Levante has been struggling away from home since the start of the campaign. Bilbao has a favourable home record against Levante though they lost both legs last season.
Alavés look forward to upsetting Sevilla when they make the trip to the Ramon Cisneros Palacios tomorrow and a win will take them to 17 points which will guarantee them fifth position after week nine. Sevilla on the other hand has been struggling at home.
Atlético Madrid look forward to collecting maximum points as they visit struggling Valencia at Estadio Antonio Puchades on Sunday midday and wish for a Real Sociedad defeat or draw so that they go on second position. Though they lack consistency in maintaining a winning streak they hope to make it two out of two this time around at struggling Valencia. A win will take them to 20 points. Valencia will be looking forward to bouncing back with a win to move away from the relegation places to avoid the chop at the end of the season.
Relegation battle as Villarreal continue to struggle
Rayo Vallecano and Villarreal look for redemption as they head into week nine to try and move away from relegation spots as they face Real Madrid and Madrid CFF respectively. Both Madrid clubs are having mixed fortunes as they look forward to favourable results going into week nine. Real Madrid welcome Rayo at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano tomorrow hoping to make it two wins in a row after winning 2-1 at home against Valencia in their last match. They will be hoping their home form which saw them win their last three matches will continue when they face struggling Rayo before they think about their midweek trip to Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Real Madrid has an upper hand in their head to head matches against Rayo winning three matches and drawing once.
Villarreal hosts Madrid CFF at Ciudad Deportivo tomorrow. Madrid CFF have been scoring two plus goals away from home and this may act as a boost travelling away to Villarreal tomorrow. This will be the two clubs’ first meeting and with Villarreal losing all of their last five matches the odds favour Madrid CFF to collect maximum points and bring their campaign back on track.
In another match, Granadilla Tenerife travel to Sporting Huelva tomorrow on the back of a single win and four draws in their last five matches. Three of the
five matches involving the two clubs at the Campo Federativo de la Orden have ended in draws with either club winning one of the other two matches and Huelva won the latest one in March this year with a 2-1 scoreline. A win for Huelva will see them overtake Tenerife on log standings and also a win for Tenerife will see them overtake Eibar who have a tough task against Barcelona.
Fixtures (Saturday): Eibar vs Barcelona (12:00); Huelva vs Granadilla Tenerife (12:00); Real Madrid vs Rayo Vallecano (12:00); Villarreal vs Madrid CFF (12:00); Athletic Bilbao vs Levante (16:00); Real Sociedad vs Betis (17:00); Sevilla vs Alaves (17:30)
Fixtures (Sunday): Valencia vs Atletico Madrid (11:30)
All times are Central European Standard Time
Photo by Alejandro Reguero, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons