La Liga Round 5 Preview: Struggling Athletic Bilbao host Villarreal; table-topping Betis face Getafe

Unai Emery's side produced an excellent performance as they held the champions to a 2-2 draw at Mestalla on Wednesday, but have another tough task this weekend


La Liga: Round 5
Preview

Table/Fixtures

Saturday SEPTEMBER 24
KO
Sunday SEPTEMBER 25
KO
 Sevilla - Valencia
1800  Mallorca - Real Sociedad
1200
Athletic Bilbao - Villarreal
1800  Levante - Espanyol
1600
 Real Madrid - Rayo Vallecano
2000
Granada - Osasuna
1800
         Barcelona - Atletico Madrid
2200 Sporting Gijon - Racing Santander
2000
    Zaragoza - Malaga
2200

  Monday SEPTEMBER 26   KO
all kick-offs in CET   Getafe - Betis
2100
 
 


Sevilla
vs Valencia

PROBABLE LINE-UPS

 
Varas
Caceres, Escude, Alexis, Navarro
Trochowski, Medel
Navas, Rakitic
Kanoute, Negredo


 

 
Guaita
Miguel, Rami, Victor Ruiz, Mathieu
Banega, Tino Costa
Pablo, Canales, Piatti
Soldado


KEY FACTS
  • Sevilla, with two wins and two draws, are currently fifth, two points behind second-placed Valencia
  • Sevilla are one of three Andalusian sides in the top six. Betis (first) and Malaga (third) are the others
  • With his side at home, coach Marcelino Garcia Toral is set to revert to a two-man forward-line, with Frederic Kanoute back in the team
 
  • Valencia are one of five teams yet to be beaten in La Liga this season. Betis, Barcelona, Sevilla and Levante are the others
  • Midfielder David Albelda is out after hurting his back in an awkward fall in the 2-2 draw at home to Barcelona on Wednesday night
  • Jordi Alba is suspended after his red card in the same game

Athletic Bilbao
vs Villarreal

PROBABLE LINE-UPS
 
Iraizoz
Iraola, Amorebieta, San Jose, Marcos
Gurpegi, Iturraspe
Muniain, Martinez, Susaeta
Llorente
 

 
Cesar
Zapata, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Joan Oriol
Marchena, Bruno
De Guzman, Borja Valero, Cani
 Rossi


KEY FACTS
  • Athletic Bilbao has yet to adapt to life under new coach Marcelo Bielsa, having picked up just one point from four games so far in the league
  • Igor Martinez picked up an injury against Malaga on Wednesday and joins Ander Herrera on the sidelines
  • Athletic have lost at home to Villarreal in four of the last five seasons
 
  • Villarreal's 2-0 win at home to Mallorca on Tuesday was the side's first win of the season
  • The Yellow Submarine have won more games at San Mames (five) than they have lost (four)
  • After the game against Athletic, Villarreal travel to Italy for an absorbing Champions League clash at Napoli next week

Real Madrid
vs Rayo Vallecano
                                                                
Jose Mourinho's side will look to return to winning ways after their shock defeat at Levante last weekend and a disappointing draw at Racing Santander on Wednesday night.

A full preview of this fixture can be found here

Barcelona
vs Atletico Madrid
                                                                
Following an entertaining 2-2 draw at Valencia, Barcelona host in-form Atletico Madrid in the most attractive match of the weekend.

A full preview of this fixture can be found here

Mallorca
vs Real Sociedad

PROBABLE LINE-UPS

 
Aouate
Zuiverloon, Chico, Ramis Caceres
Victor, Pina
Alfaro, Tejera, Nsue
Tomer Hemed


 

 
Bravo
C. Martinez, I. Martinez, Demidov, Bella
Illarramendi, Mariga
Prieto, Zurutuza, Vela
Agirretxe


KEY FACTS
  • After beating Espanyol in their opening match, Mallorca have lost three league games in a row
  • And the islanders' only goal this season came in the win over the Catalan club
  • Coach Michael Laudrup is reportedly fighting to keep his job and could be replaced if his side fail to win this match. Coaches losing their jobs is 'part of football', says the Dane
 
  • Real Sociedad have enjoyed a positive start to the season, having picked up two wins and a draw from their first four games
  • Daniel Estrada's winner against Granada looked more like a cross than a shot, but the midfielder claimed afterwards that it was a 'cross-shot'
  • Xabi Prieto and David Zurutuza could return from injury in this match

Levante
vs Espanyol

PROBABLE LINE-UPS

 
Munua
Javi Venta, Ballesteros, Nano, Juanfran
X. Torres, Iborra
Valdo, Barkero, Juanlu
Kone


 
 
Alvarez
Galan, Moreno, Forlin, Didac
Marquez, Baena, Verdu
Thievy, Alvaro, Sergio Garcia


KEY FACTS
  • Levante have started the season in some style, picking up two wins and two draws in their opening four matches
  • The Valencia-based side have beaten two teams from the capital: Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid
  • Levante have been accused of play-acting and theatrics by both Rayo boss Jose Ramon Sandoval and Madrid coach Jose Mourinho
 
  • Espanyol have won both of their home matches, but lost twice on the road so far this term
  • The Barcelona-based side beat Getafe on Thursday thanks to a last-gasp winner from substitute Walter Pandiani
  • Javi Lopez returns from suspension but Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni is likely to be left out again and could leave in January

Granada
vs Osasuna

PROBABLE LINE-UPS

 
Roberto
Nyom, Diakhate, Mainz, Siqueira
Abel, Yebda
Jara, Carlos Martins, Dani Benitez
Uche


 

 
Fernandez
Raitala, Roversio, Flano, Bertran
Lama, Punal, Raul Garcia
Cejudo, Nino
  Sola


KEY FACTS
  • Having beaten Villarreal last weekend, Granada lost their third game of the season as they narrowly went down to Real Sociedad in midweek
  • The club launched their own television channel in Andalucia this week
  • Striker Alex Geijo has recovered from injury and could face Osasuna
 
  • After losing 8-0 at Barcelona last weekend, Osasuna were denied what looked like a blatant penalty at home to Sevilla and had to settle for a goalless draw
  • Osasuna have five points and the 8-0 loss remains the club's sole defeat this term
  • Defender Roversio Rodrigues will be out for three weeks through injury

Sporting Gijon
vs Racing Santander

PROBABLE LINE-UPS
 
Fernandez
Lora, Botis, Soto, Canella
Eguren, Alvarez
Trojo, Castro, De Las Cuevas
Barral

 

 
Tono
Francis, Alvaro, Bernardo, Christian
Tziolis, Diop
Samperio, Ariel, Serrano
Stuani


KEY FACTS
  • Sporting Gijon have lost all four of their league games so far this term and are the only side in the division yet to win a point
  • This match, something of a northern derby clash, is a must-win for the Asturian side, although coach Manolo Preciado is hugely respected and not thought to be under threat just yet
 
  • Racing Santander lost 4-0 to Atletico Madrid last weekend but then held Real Madrid to a goalless draw at El Sardinero in midweek
  • Defender Bernardo enjoyed a fine debut in that match
  • Despite that result, Racing sit just above the drop zone with two points from their four games

Zaragoza
vs Malaga

PROBABLE LINE-UPS
 
Roberto
Silva, Lanzaro, Meira
Juarez, Pinter, Ponzio, Abraham
Barrera, Lafita
Postiga

 

 
Willy
Gamez, Demichelis, Mathijsen, Eliseu
Toulalan, Duda
Cazorla, Joaquin
Van Nistelrooy, Baptista



KEY FACTS
  • Despite staging a late comeback, Zaragoza lost 4-3 to leaders Betis on Thursday night
  • The Aragonese outfit also lost 6-0 to Real Madrid on the opening weekend, but have four points in all
  • Adam Pinter was injured in the warm-up against Betis and is a doubt for this match
 
  • Malaga lost to Sevilla on the opening day, but have won three in a row since then to move up to third
  • Summer signing Santi Cazorla has scored four times already this season, with three of those coming from free-kicks
  • Malaga, then struggling as well, won this fixture 5-3 last season

Getafe
vs Betis

PROBABLE LINE-UPS
 
Moya
Torres, Lopo, Diaz, Masilela
Pedro Leon, J. Rodriguez, Lacen, Sarabia
Guiza, Miku
 

 
Fabricio
Chica, Amaya, Dorado, Perez
Etxebarria, Iriney
Vadillo, Sevilla, Montero
Santa Cruz


KEY FACTS
  • Getafe are second to bottom with a single point from four games
  • The Madrid-based side lost out to a 91st-minute goal at Espanyol on Thursday night
  • Diego Castro and Michel are available again for coach Luis Garcia, who is desperate for a first win of the season. "I have got out of a lot of worse situations than this," he said
 
  • Betis' 4-3 win over Zaragoza saw the Andalusian side go top of the Primera Division for the first time in almost exactly 10 years
  • Betis won promotion in the summer and have impressed, winning all four of their games so far
  • Goalkeeper Casto Espinosa is suspended and is set to be replaced by Fabricio in this match
Varas
Caceres, Escude, Alexis, Navarro
Trochowski, Medel
Navas, Rakitic, Perotti
Negredo