Real look to keep pressure on Barcelona as Atlético seek consistency: Liga F Week 18 Preview

Real look to keep pressure on Barcelona as Atlético seek consistency: Liga F Week 18 Preview
Esther González is now two goals shy of leading Liga F scorer Alba Redondo. The Real Madrid number 10 will be looking to have a say in things when they clash with Valencia on Saturday / © Photo by Diego Souto / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to maintain pressure on log leaders Barcelona by collecting maximum points when they clash with hosts Valencia at the Ciudad Deportiva de Paterna on Saturday evening.

The Madrid side moved to second place within eight points of Barcelona with a game in hand after their 4-1 midweek win against Real Sociedad to boost their chances of ending the Blaugranes dominance.

The visitors will be looking up to forward Esther González for goals after her midweek brace took her season goal tally to 14 and within two goals of top goalscorer Alba Redondo.

Valencia, on the other hand, lost 4-0 to Barcelona in a difficult midweek fixture and will be aiming to bounce back from the setback to get back on their winning streak that saw them win three games in a row.

The teams have met seven times with Real winning three and drawing four. Real have not won away at Valencia and have drawn all the three matches they have played there.

Meanwhile, Barcelona have a chance to keep their distance at the top as they clash with struggling Real Betis at the Estadi Johan Cruyff on Sunday evening.

The log leaders opened an eight point lead at the top after their 4-0 win over Valencia on Wednesday night and will be looking to continue with their winning streak as they are much aware of the threat posed by the chasing pack.

They will be banking on forward Asisat Oshoala who has managed to work herself up and find herself only two goals behind Liga F’s top goalscorer, Alba Redondo who is on 15 goals.

On the other hand, Betis aim to bounce back from their 3-1 defeat to Madrid CFF last weekend which put them in danger of relegation having now gone five games without a win.

The teams have met 12 times with Barcelona winning 11 and drawing one, scoring a whooping 44 goals and conceding only two.

Third-placed Levante make a trip to Alavés for a clash at the Ciudad Deportiva José Luis Compañón on Saturday afternoon.

Levante moved to third after they were dislodged by Real Madrid who had two games in hand and may now just have to focus on finishing in the top three which comes with champions league football.

Alavés, on the other hand, find themselves anchoring the log standings and will be looking to push for a comeback and fight tooth and nail to survive the chop come end of season.

The visitors will be banking on league’s top goalscorer forward Alba Redondo who is at risk of losing the top spot after her lead was cut to just a single goal by Barcelona’s Oshoala and Real Madrid’s González.

Alavés will be missing the services of midfielder Jessica Aby who saw red against Villarreal after she received her second yellow card.

The teams have met three times with Levante winning two and drawing one. Levante’s last visit ended in a stalemate and they are fully aware it is not an easy match.

A potential thriller is looming as Madrid CFF host Real Sociedad at the Estadio Fernando Torres on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams have not been consistent of late and find themselves losing points in matches in which they should otherwise be collecting maximum points.

Madrid CFF aim to build from their 3-1 win over Real Betis last weekend whilst Sociedad aim to bounce back from their 4-1 midweek defeat at the hands of second-placed Real Madrid.

The hosts will be hoping that Racheal Kundananji, who was back scoring again last weekend, and Florencia Bonsegundo are at their best to propel them to victory whilst Sociedad will be hoping Amauir Sarriegi is at her level best.

The teams have met in 11 competitive matches with Real Sociedad winning five times, losing four and drawing two.

Inconsistent Atlético Madrid make a trip to draw specialists Sporting Huelva at the Campo Federativo de la Orden on Sunday afternoon.

The visitors welcomed back their top goal scorer forward Ludmila in last weekend’s draw with Real Betis and will be hoping she replicates her form before the knee injury.

Sporting Huelva suffered a 1-0 defeat to Sevilla in their rescheduled match on Wednesday evening and will be hoping to gain at least a point as they look to steer themselves away from relegation though they will have to do it without the suspended Danish defender Athena Marie Kühn who received two yellow cards resulting in her being sent off against Sevilla.

Atlético have lost ground in their bid to fight for top three finish after losing many points by failing to finish off matches. They now find themselves 11 points from third-placed Levante.

The teams have met 26 times with Atlético winning 19, losing three and drawing four.

Sevilla will be looking to evade the risk posed by visiting Villarreal when they clash at the Ramón Cisneros Palacios on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts will be buoyed by their 1-0 victory over Sporting Huelva on Wednesday to make it four matches without a defeat whilst Villarreal will be looking forward to building on their 1-0 win over Alavés last weekend to push for their life which is currently hanging by a thread.

Sevilla will be banking on the experience of midfielder and skipper Amanda Sampedro and forward Ana Franco whilst Villarreal will be hoping that inspirational skipper and forward Sheila Guijarro will be at her best to steer the ship out of the relegation threat.

The teams have met four times with Sevilla winning three and losing one. Ironically, Sevilla have won all the away matches and lost at home.

Athletic Club will be aiming for redemption when they clash with visiting UDG Tenerife at the Instalaciones de Lezama Campo 1 on Saturday afternoon.

The teams are tied on 17 points with Athletic Club enjoying a superior goal difference.

Both teams have been struggling for results and either team will be aiming to collect maximum points so as to move up the standings and fight for a top eight finish.

Tenerife cannot afford to fail to collect maximum points as they face Real Madrid next Wednesday which will be a very difficult match for them.

The teams have met 15 times with Tenerife winning eight, losing five and drawing two. Athletic Club will be hoping to build on their two wins in a row in their last two head-to-head meetings.

Alhama have been grinding results of late and will  be hoping to do so again when they clash with visiting Levante Las Planas at the Campo de Fútbol José María Soriano Muñoz on Saturday afternoon.

Las Planas find themselves three points above the hosts and a win for Alhama will mean they go above as the hosts enjoy a better goal difference.

Alhama lost 3-1 away to Levante last weekend whilst Las Planas lost 3-0 at home to Valencia and either team will be looking to bounce back from their defeats and collect maximum points.

The visitors will have an opportunity to introduce newly signed Nigerian midfielder Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene who signed from Swedish outfit Eskilstuna United.

The teams have met once with Las Planas winning the fixture 3-1 at home.

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Fixtures (Saturday): Alhama CF ElPozo vs Levante Las Planas (12:00); Athletic Club vs UDG Tenerife (12:00); Alavés vs Levante (16:00); Valencia vs Real Madrid (18:15)

Fixtures (Sunday): Madrid CFF vs Real Sociedad (12:00); Sevilla vs Villarreal (12:00); Sporting Huelva vs Atlético Madrid (12:00); Barcelona vs Real Betis (16:00)

Fixtures (Wednesday, 8 February): UDG Tenerife vs Real Madrid (19:00)*

All times are in Central European Time (CET)

*Peninsular Time