Three regional derbies will monopolize the conversation in the La Liga weekend, while Copa del Rey means both hope and hassle to the surviving teams
Barça tackle Girona with a pending Copa comeback
Barça lost last Wednesday, but it wasn’t as unexpected as some might believe. For starters, Sevilla played really well (2-0). And, also, leaving Leo Messi out of any game, Copa or not, is a luxury not many managers can actually enjoy. Valverde took a gamble in order to keep Leo as rested as possible, and it backfired. Now they will have to do double the work in order to turn it around next week.
Meanwhile, a spirited Girona (who also gave Real Madrid a run for their money in their 4-2 final score last Thursday) won’t make things easy for the Culés. Kevin-Prince Boateng might make his official La Liga debut for Barca in a Montilivi stadium where the visitors have quite the following, but also fierce detractors.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 26, 2019
Atlético and Getafe certainly won’t cuddle and play nice
Getafe’s manager has quickly become a polarizing figure amongst La Liga fans because of the way he has shaped and molded his team into a bulldozing machine. Expert blacksmith Pepe Bordalás has created an uncomfortable side which pesters the opposition, doesn’t let them play comfortably and bullies its way straight into victory. Case in point: Valencia CF players being spanked around last Tuesday (1-0).
But this weekend the mother of all battles will take place between two sides born from the same idiosyncrasy: if Getafe are hard, Cholo Simeone’s Atlético are no slouces either, built under the same principles but (obviously) with a bit more cash to spare. The resulting epic showdown might not be the prettiest game of the lot, but for sure it will bring the biggest thrills.
Desperation rears its ugly head amidst the Valencian derby
Drawing, drawing and drawing once again. Two of LaLiga’s biggest offenders, Valencia and Villarreal, will trade blows on Saturday just to settle who are in a worst slump nowadays. Valencia have one eye set on the Copa del Rey prize even though the board stated recently that it wasn’t a priority for them (and pissing off their fans in the process), whereas Villarreal’s current second-to-last place in the table has all the alarms inside the Submarine setting off a quite concerning noise.
Should Valencia win, they would deliver a huge blow to their neighbours and confirm the coach swap on the bench didn’t work out as expected. But, should Villarreal conquer Mestalla, we should discard more whistles and criticism towards a Marcelino García who has already survived a couple ‘match-balls’ this season.