Madrid, Sep 24 (IANS) The seventh round of matches in La Liga kicks off on Saturday with several coaches in danger of losing their jobs if results go against them.
One of those is Alaves boss Javier Calleja, whose side began the 2021/22 campaign with five consecutive defeats. Alaves take on an Atletico Madrid side that has looked slightly out of sorts in the past fortnight, but who still should have more than enough to take three points from their visit to Vitoria.
Geoffrey Kondogbia and Koke are out for Atletico and it will be interesting to see if coach Diego Simeone keeps Luis Suarez in his starting 11 after the Uruguayan’s two goals away to Getafe.
Athletic Bilbao striker Inaki Williams will equal the record number of consecutive La Liga appearances when he plays his 202nd straight game in his side’s visit to Valencia.
Consecutive defeats have put a brake on Valencia’s positive start to the campaign, and they will be without Spain internationals Carlos Soler and Jose Luis Gaya. Meanwhile, Athletic suffered their first defeat of the campaign after coach Marcelino Garcia Toral rotated seven players against Rayo Vallecano on Tuesday night ahead of his return to face his former club, reports Xinhua.
Sevilla’s 3-1 win at home to Valencia in midweek lifted them to fourth in the table and Julen Lopetegui’s men are favourites to beat Espanyol on Saturday afternoon.
Real Madrid’s home match against Villarreal on Saturday night should see Carlo Ancelotti return Luka Modric, Casemiro and Vinicius Jr to his side after he rested them in midweek.
Left-backs Ferland Mendy and Marcelo are out, along with right-back Dani Carvajal against a rival that will be missing Spain international Gerard Moreno as they look to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Real Mallorca need to bounce back from their 6-1 thrashing to Real when they take on Osasuna on Sunday lunchtime, while Osasuna travel after a 3-1 home defeat to Real Betis. Kike Garcia will be the main threat for the visitors, while Takefusa Kubo and Kangin Lee will lead the Mallorca attack.
All eyes will be on the Camp Nou for FC Barcelona’s game at home to Levante. Following poor displays against Granada and Cadiz, the pressure is mounting on Barca coach Ronald Koeman, who won’t be able to sit in the dugout after being sent off against Cadiz on Thursday night.
Barca still have Ansu Fati, Sergio Aguero, Ouseman Dembele, Pedri, and Jordi Alba out injured, while Frenkie de Jong is likely to be suspended after receiving two yellow cards in Cadiz. That means Koeman will again have to trust in youth in a game that could well decide his future at the club.
Real Sociedad moved up to third after their win in Granada on Thursday night, although they will be without injured strikers Alexander Isak, Carlos Fernandez, and Alexander Sorloth as they entertain Elche.
Rayo Vallecano, for whom Radamel Falcao has scored twice in just a handful of minutes, look to add to their impressive haul of 10 points from a possible 12 when they entertain Cadiz, while Getafe travel to play Real Betis after losing their first six games of the season.
Getafe president Angel Torres has so far defended coach Michel Gonzalez, but it’s hard to imagine Michel surviving another defeat, while Granada coach Robert Moreno is also under pressure ahead of his side’s visit to play Celta Vigo after Thursday’s defeat to Real Sociedad left them third from bottom with just three points from six games.