La Liga Preview: Pressure on bottom two as Zaragoza and Sporting face tough tests


The pressure is on the bottom clubs of the Spanish Primera Division this weekend as the relegation candidates run the risk of falling further behind the park as they face some of the top sides in the league.

La Liga’s bottom side Real Zaragoza travel to Catalonia on Sunday to face Espanyol, who haven’t lost in their last seven league matches.

The Periquitos will be looking to maintain the pressure on Levante and Valencia with a victory over the league’s whipping boys, but Espanyol player Hector Moreno has insisted that his side can’t afford to underestimate their opponents as they will put up a good fight in an attempt to claw their way out of the drop zone.

He told Marca: “They are desperate to get some points in Cornella-El Prat and that makes them a more dangerous opponent than the rest. The game against Zaragoza and achieving the three points are important for us.”

Sporting Gijon face a tough test this weekend with a trip to the Mestalla to meet Valencia. Los Che will be desperate to get back to winning ways as soon as possible after their elimination from the Copa del Rey at the hands of Barcelona in midweek. Unai Emery will be hoping to repair his side’s damaged confidence with a win over Sporting as his side look to hold onto third place in the league.

Sporting duo Nacho Cases, Alberto Botia and Ivan Hernandez are all doubts for the clash against Valencia, whilst Unai Emery has a full team to choose from.

Racing Santander earned a draw away to Levante last week which pulled them out of the bottom three for less than 24 hours as Villarreal soon leapfrogged them. The Verdiblancos will have a hard time hauling themselves out of the relegation zone this week as they host Atletico Madrid who are still unbeaten under Diego Simeone and haven’t conceded a goal since the Argentine took over.

Tono and Domingo Cisma have returned from suspension but Francis faces a late fitness test and Khouma Babacar is doubtful to feature this weekend.

Diego Simeone will be without the suspended Miranda as well as the injured Diego Godin, Diego Costa and Antonio Lopez.

Villarreal will be looking to build on their three game unbeaten run by pulling themselves further away from the drop zone and leapfrogging this weekend’s opponents Granada.

El Grana will be high in confidence heading into this match after defeating Malaga last week but their form on the road is cause for concern having lost seven of the 10 away matches, whereas Villarreal have lost just one league match at El Madrigal this season.

Joan Oriol is available to play for the Yellow Submarine after successfully appealing his suspension, but Bruno Soriano is unavailable after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last weekend. Jose Francisco Molina will also have to do without Jose Catala on Sunday as the defender is injured.

Real Betis could drop closer to the bottom three as they face an in-form Athletic Bilbao, whilst Real Sociedad face Sevilla, a side who haven’t won in their last seven matches but enter this game with new Coach Michel Gonzalez.

Fixtures:

Saturday

17.00 – Racing Santander v Atl

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