By LaLiga Santandar
The 2020/21 LaLiga Santander table is starting to take shape as the eighth round of action approaches, but there are still some oddities in the standings as Barcelona and Sevilla find themselves in the bottom half.
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They may have only played five games each, but neither of these Champions League-calibre sides have won in their past three league games. They’ll look to get back on track this weekend as they each travel north to the Basque Country, which also happens to be where this round’s action commences.
Kicking off Matchday 8 is Eibar vs Cadiz at Ipurua, the first ever time these two teams meet in Spain’s top tier. With the Basque side yet to win at home this season and with Cadiz only having won away, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the newly-promoted side return to the other side of the country with a positive result.
The first fixture of an action-packed Saturday (31 October) sees Real Madrid host winless Huesca and the defending champions will be looking to build on last weekend’s big win in El Clasico. Captain Sergio Ramos scored a decisive goal in that victory over Barcelona and this will be an extra special weekend for him since he’s in line to make his 500th LaLiga Santander appearance, becoming just the 10th player ever to reach that milestone.
Next up on Saturday afternoon is Sevilla’s aforementioned trip north to visit Athletic Bilbao. These two teams know each other well as they actually played back-to-back friendlies just over a month ago to warm up for the new campaign. It hasn’t exactly gone to plan for either club so far, but Sevilla will be especially keen to pick up the three points considering they’ve failed to win any of their past three LaLiga Santander matches.
On Saturday evening, Osasuna will host Atletico Madrid and the home team will be aware of the challenge this entails since Atletico remain the only undefeated side in LaLiga Santander so far this season.
Then, on Saturday night, Barcelona will make their own trip to the north to face Alaves. Alaves coach Pablo Machin has thrown some tactical curveballs at Barcelona over the years in his previous meetings with the Blaugrana and it’ll be interesting to see how Ronald Koeman deals with this as Barca look to win for the first time since Matchday 4.
The first of Sunday’s four matches is a duel between two of the three South American coaches in Spain’s top flight. Chilean tactician Manuel Pellegrini and his Real Betis side will host Argentinian coach Jorge Almiron’s high-flying Elche in a battle of the league’s two green-and-white teams.
Then, inconsistent Celta Vigo will host league leaders Real Sociedad for a match between the joint-lowest scorers in the division, with four goals, and the joint-top scorers, with 14 goals. Real Sociedad are full of confidence right now and also have happy memories of their most recent trip to Vigo: a 1-0 win back in October 2019.
Granada vs Levante play on Sunday evening, with the home team favourites in the view of most considering they go into this weekend in third position and the Granotas stuck inside the relegation zone at this early stage of the season.
Sunday’s late game sees Valencia host Getafe in a battle of two teams who have developed an interesting rivalry in recent years. Their last few encounters have been packed full of hot-headed drama: this fixture finished 3-3 last season.
There’s still more LaLiga Santander entertainment to come on Monday evening as Villarreal will play Real Valladolid at the Estadio de la Ceramica. Valladolid are, along with Huesca, one of the only two teams yet to win a league match this campaign and they’ll target that first win against a Villarreal side who they hope might be a little tired after playing Qarabağ in Istanbul in the Europa League on Thursday night.
Even at this early stage of the season, this is a huge match to bring Matchday 8 to a conclusion.
Watch LaLiga Santander live this weekend on your local broadcasters.