LaLiga Santander Matchday 32 preview
There is non-stop LaLiga Santander action this week, as the midweek Matchday 31 concludes on Thursday and then the weekend’s Matchday 32 kicks off on Friday with a fascinating CA Osasuna vs Real Sociedad game. There are several other interesting fixtures taking place over the weekend too, as FC Barcelona and Real Madrid aim to bounce back from their midweek losses and as the relegation battle really heats up.
It all begins at El Sadar, where CA Osasuna will know that a victory over Real Sociedad would put them within touching distance of the last European qualification spot. The Navarre team are looking to qualify for continental competition next season, and would love to do so by winning the Copa del Rey, but they can also qualify via LaLiga Santander and have the players to do so, with the likes of Moi Gómez, Pablo Ibáñez and Ante Budimir in top form.
The first of Saturday’s three fixtures is in the middle of the afternoon as bottom-placed Elche CF host a Rayo Vallecano squad that will travel east full of confidence after defeating Barça in midweek. Andoni Iraola’s side are also dreaming of European football, but will need to improve their away form, as they haven’t won any of their past five on the road.
On Saturday evening, both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have home fixtures against Andalusian opposition and they’ll look to bounce back after Los Blancos fell 4-2 at Girona FC on Tuesday and after Los Azulgranas lost 2-1 at Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday. It’s Real Madrid in action first, as they welcome UD Almería to the Bernabéu and Carlo Ancelotti’s side will have to be careful, as Rubi’s team just secured their first away win of the season in midweek, and in the capital city no less, where they defeated Getafe CF. Real Madrid only squeezed past UD Almería 2-1 when they met way back in Matchday 1, so this could be a close and competitive encounter once more.
Then, at the Spotify Camp Nou, FC Barcelona host a Real Betis side that need the points too if they’re to have any chance of reaching the Champions League. These teams have met twice already this season and they were two very close contests, with Barça winning 2-1 away earlier this LaLiga Santander season and with the Catalan side winning a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw when they met in the Spanish Super Cup semi-finals.
The first of Sunday’s games is a huge one in the relegation battle, as Cádiz CF take on Valencia CF. With both teams sweating to avoid the drop, intensity will be on display from both units. Cádiz CF have already defeated Los Che this league season, when a Rubén Alcaraz goal earned them a 1-0 win at Mestalla, so they’ll look to complete the double.
Villarreal CF vs RC Celta is up next, a duel of two teams who look to play attractive football and two teams who boast some of the best Spanish youngsters around, with the likes of Yéremy Pino, Álex Baena, Fran Beltrán and Gabri Veiga.
Then comes another relegation six-pointer, as RCD Espanyol take on Getafe CF in Barcelona. Getafe CF will make the trip just days after sacking Quique Sánchez Flores following a poor run of results, while Los Pericos are only four games into their Luis García Fernández era. Both these clubs are desperate for the three points and that should produce an interesting contest.
The Sunday night games sees Atlético de Madrid make the short trip to Real Valladolid and Diego Simeone’s side remain in good form. Even though they lost to FC Barcelona last weekend, they responded with an impressive 3-1 win over RCD Mallorca in midweek and that means Los Colchoneros have won seven of their past eight games. They’ll look to make it eight from nine in their first visit to the Estadio José Zorrilla since winning the league title there at the end of 2020/21.
Monday is a holiday in Spain and there are two matches for fans to enjoy, the first of which is RCD Mallorca vs Athletic Club. These are two of the best-coached sides in the division, thanks to the work of Javier Aguirre and Ernesto Valverde, so it’ll be a fascinating tactical tussle on the island.
Then, to round off Matchday 32, Sevilla FC take on Girona FC with both of these teams in good form over the past few weeks. Both sides are likely to adopt an attack-minded approach, so we could have something of a goal fest to round off this matchday of LaLiga Santander action.