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Saturday potentially decisive in La Liga

Madrid, Nov 17 (IANS) Saturday sees a potentially decisive day in the Spanish La Liga as FC Barcelona travel to play Leganes, while Atletico Madrid entertain Real Madrid in the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Barca will kick off their game in Leganes’ Butarque Stadium with an eight point advantage over Real and Atletico, but a win would open that gap to 11 points by the time the Madrid derby kicks off later in the evening, meaning anything but a win would the two Madrid sides with a mountain to climb in the title race … and only one of the two can win!

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde may rotate some key players for a game Barca are favorites to win, despite Leganes’ fine start to the season and could rest either Gerard Pique or Samuel Umtiti given that both are one booking away from a suspension that would see them miss next weekend’s difficult trip to play second place Valencia, reports Xinhua news agency.

Meanwhile, Paco Alcacer will hope to maintain his place in the side after scoring twice against Sevilla a fortnight ago.

The Madrid derby has several points of interest, not least the chance of seeing Theo Hernandez face his former club after opting to join Real Madrid during the summer. Theo could come up against his brother Lucas, who remained loyal to Atletico and can expect a hostile reception from the home fans if he plays.

Elsewhere attention will no doubt be focused on strikers Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo, each of whom have been below their best this campaign.

Griezmann appeared to flirt with Paris Saint Germain on international duty last week, while Ronaldo has only one league goal this season and his future at Real Madrid is becoming increasingly unclear, especially after losing dressing room allies, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao and James Rodriguez over the summer.

Although the strikers are getting the attention, perhaps it is Atletico midfielder, Koke, who will be key to the game. Griezmann has come in for criticism, it is also true he has been starved of service.

–IANS
sam/dg
Post Source: Ians feed

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