La Liga Matchday 5: Previews and Predictions for Friday and Saturday Matches

Tre' Atkinson@@TreAtkinsonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2013

La Liga Matchday 5: Previews and Predictions for Friday and Saturday Matches

0 of 5

    David Ramos/Getty Images

    After four entertaining weeks of actions, La Liga is back at it again this weekend with the fifth round of fixtures. Atletico Madrid and Barcelona continue to lead the La Liga table but that could possibly change in the coming days.

    Some clubs will be looking to keep pace while others are already in a fight with relegation. If you are planning to keep up with the Spanish league this weekend you have come to the right place.

    In this article we will take a quick look at the first half of matches taking place on Friday and Saturday. Continue reading to find out if your club should take all three points or if things won't be going so smoothly this weekend.

    Make sure to check back later this weekend for part two as we look at the second half of fixtures to cap off the weekend's action.

     

    Note that all player and club statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com and Squawka.com.

Osasuna vs. Elche

1 of 5

    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    This round of matches features only one game on Friday with Navarran club Osasuna set to host recently promoted Elche. These two Spanish clubs will fight it out in an entertaining duel, but do not expect the match to gain much attention.

    Osasuna has already had a season to forget. After four matches the Basque club finds itself winless without earning a single point on the year.

    This will be the second match under new manager Javi Garcia who replaced Jose Luis Mendilibar just a few weeks ago. The club will be looking to finally get the ball rolling and stands a good chance to do so against Elche.

    Visitors Elche have drawn their last three matches to earn a total of three points on the season. Though they have only given up six goals this season, they have managed to score just half that many.

    This match may not draw much attention but for these two clubs it is a must win. Expect both sides to attack often looking to take all three points.

     

    Prediction

    Normally it would be easy to predict a 1-0 victory in favor of Elche who has defended well at times this season. But with Osasuna playing at home in a desperate situation, the Basque club should find the back of the net.

    My final prediction is a 1-1 draw at El Sadar Stadium.

Real Sociedad vs. Malaga

2 of 5

    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    The first La Liga match on Saturday will see Malaga travel to San Sebastian to take on Basque side Real Sociedad in what may prove to be one of the most exciting matches of the weekend.

    La Real may have seen massive success last season which led to their Champions League birth, but things have not been quite as easy since the start of the new campaign.

    The Basque club has won only one La Liga match this season and is coming off of a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League group stage.

    However, by far the worst news for Real Sociedad is the loss of midfielder Esteban Granero, who suffered a torn ACL against Shakhtar and will miss the next six months of action according to InsideSpanishFootball.com

    On the other hand, Malaga is finally seeing success this year after a dismal start to the season.

    Malaga began their domestic campaign with consecutive losses but is coming off a 5-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano which has fans believing that success can be achieved this year.

    This match pits an in-form Malaga side against a struggling Real Sociedad. But do not expect current form to be the deciding factor. La Real is still a much stronger side than Malaga and will still be favorites playing at Anoeta.

     

    Prediction

    With this game being played at Anoeta, La Real will be given the boost they need. This match will take place on a very level playing field, but Real Sociedad has a point to make. The Basque club will show their best as Malaga will be brought back down to earth.

    My final prediction is a 2-1 victory in favor of Real Sociedad at Anoeta.

Almeria vs. Levante

3 of 5

    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    The second La Liga match on Saturday will see newly promoted Almeria host Levante. Neither side has really looked impressive this season, but this match will be thrilling nonetheless.

    Almeria has yet to win a game this season but has drawn twice. They currently sit 18th in the La Liga table but have arguably deserved more for their efforts.

    The club from Andalusia has scored eight goals already this season with four of those belonging to striker Rodri. However, defending has not been a strong suit of Almeria as they have conceded 11 goals in four matches.

    Levante has also struggled defensively conceding eight goals this season. But they have not had much luck on the other end of the pitch having only found the back of the net twice this season yet surprisingly sit in the top half of the La Liga table.

    Expect this to be a very open game with both clubs struggling to defend.

     

    Prediction

    Almeria should come out on top in this match. They have proven to be a capable attacking side that Levante will struggle to defend against. More importantly, Levante’s offensive struggles will likely come back to hurt them as it is unlikely they will find the back of the net.

    My final prediction is a 2-0 victory in favor of Almeria at Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos.

Rayo Vallecano vs. Barcelona

4 of 5

    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Rayo Vallecano will be looking to do the impossible on Saturday as they host Catalan giants Barcelona. La Liga fans already know where this one is going as it should be a festival of goals.

    No Spanish club has allowed as many goals as Rayo Vallecano this season with the Vallecanos having conceded 12 times already this year. The Madrid-based club has also been shut out 5-0 twice this season, and it is only four matches into the new campaign.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, Barcelona has continued to dominate the Spanish league.

    The Catalans have found the back of the net 14 times this season and currently sit on the top of the La Liga table alongside Atletico Madrid. Barcelona has won all four matches they have played this year, and that number should rise on Saturday.

     

    Prediction

    Playing in front of their own fans will give Rayo Vallecano the energy to face Barcelona, but it won’t be enough. The Catalans have too much firepower and Rayo Vallecano continues to be the weakest defensive side in La Liga.

    My final prediction is a 3-0 victory in favor of Barcelona at Campo de Futbol de Vallecas.

Real Valladolid vs. Atletico Madrid

5 of 5

    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    The final match of Saturday’s La Liga action will see Atletico Madrid travel to take on Real Valladolid. The Madrid-based club will be heavy favorites, but not everything will come easily.

    Real Valladolid has managed to win only one match this season but has also been one of the stronger defensive clubs in Spain. The outfit from Valladolid has only conceded four goals this year while managing to find the back of the net three times.

    Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, currently sits atop the La Liga table alongside Barcelona with no signs of letting up.

    Los Colchoneros have managed to score 14 goals this season while conceding only four times. In their four domestic matches this season, Atletico Madrid have been in dominant form but have shockingly only averaged 46 percent possession each game.

    The home side will look to capitalize on possession but will find it hard to break through what is arguably the best defense in La Liga.

     

    Prediction

    Atletico Madrid should keep pace with Barcelona this weekend. Real Valladolid does boast a strong defense but will not be able to shut out their visitors. But fans should expect the home side to find the back of the net once on Saturday.

    My final prediction is a 3-1 victory in favor of Atletico Madrid at the Estadio Nuevo Jose Zorrilla.

     

    How will these matches play out? Will Barcelona or Atletico Madrid lose pace at the top of the table? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

     

    Tre' Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on La Liga and Spanish football!