Real Madrid’s Welsh winger Gareth Bale (L) in action against Valencia’s defender Toni Lato (R) during the Spanish Primera Division soccer match between Valencia CF and Real Madrid at Mestalla stadium in Valencia, Spain, 27 January 2018. EPA/JUAN CARLOS CARDENAS[/caption] New La Liga leaders Sevilla will have a major test of their credentials when they play away to surprise package Deportivo Alaves in the penultimate match of round 14 in the 2018/19 season. Pablo Machin’s side assumed first place on the log this past weekend as they took full advantage of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid drawing 1-1 their 1-0 win at home to Real Valladolid (featuring another goal from the outstanding Andre Silva) took them to 26 points at the summit. Yet a clash away to Mubarak Wakaso’s Alaves at Estadio de Mendizorroza will be no easy task even if the hosts are licking their wounds from a 1-0 loss to strugglers Leganes in the previous round. Barcelona will have the chance to go back to the top of the standings and put pressure on Sevilla when they host Villarreal on Sunday evening. Three successive matches without a win for the Blaugrana (across all competitions) has increased the pressure on manager Ernesto Valverde. He will hope his superstars such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are back to prime form for the visit of a ‘Yellow Submarine’ team which boasts the attacking talents of Karl Toko Ekambi and Samuel Chukwueze and is unbeaten in their last five matches across all competitions. Real Madrid will face a test of their mettle when they host Geoffrey Kondogbia’s Valencia on Saturday night. Manager Santiago Solari had enjoyed a great start to life in the hot seat (seeing his status upgraded from caretaker to permanent appointment) but things went horribly wrong after the international break as they succumbed 3-0 at Eibar this past weekend. Los Blancos are six points adrift of the top of the log not an unrecoverable situation for a team of their class and pedigree, but they cannot afford to fall further off the pace as the season heads into a busy December period. Eibar, meanwhile, will look to build on their stunning win over Real when they face Gael Kakuta and Gilbert Imbula’s Rayo Vallecano on Friday night in the first match of the round, Sofiane Boufal’s Celta de Vigo will chase a home win over Huesca, and Thomas Partey’s Atletico Madrid face a potential banana skin away to Girona, who should have Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou between the sticks. Key match stats Barcelona v Villarreal – Head-to-head, all competitions Matches played 40 Barca wins 23 Villarreal wins 8 Draws 9 Real Madrid v Valencia – Head-to-head, all competitions Matches played 54 Real wins 29 Valencia wins 12 Draws 13 Deportivo Alaves v Sevilla – Head-to-head, all competitions Matches played 14 Alaves wins 4 Sevilla wins 7 Draws 3 La Liga fixtures, 30 November – 3 December All times GMT Friday 30 November 8pm Rayo Vallecano v Eibar – LIVEon SS7, Max2 & SelGO4 Saturday 1 December 12pm Celta de Vigo v Huesca – LIVEon SS7, Max2 & SelGO4 3:15pm Real Valladolid v Leganes – LIVEon SS7 & SelGO4 5:30pm Getafe v Espanyol – LIVEon SS7, Max360 & SelGO4 7:45pm Real Madrid v Valencia – LIVEon SS7, Max2 & SelGO4 Sunday 2 December 11am Real Betis v Real Sociedad – LIVEon SS7, Max360 & SelGO4 3:15pm Girona v Atletico Madrid – LIVEon SS7, Max2 & SelGO4 5:30pm Barcelona v Villarreal – LIVEon SS7, Max2 & SelGO4 7:45pm: Deportivo Alaves v Sevilla – LIVEon SS7 & SelGO4 Monday 3 December 8pm Levante v Athletic Bilbao – LIVEon SS7, Max2 & SelGO4 ]]>
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