MUMBAI: 1. Los Blancos aims to record their first Laliga win of the year
Real Madrid will be looking to get back to winning ways after dropping two points in a 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo. Also, they will be aiming to start the new year with a win under their belt by defeating Villarreal at Bernabeu. Los Blancos are determined to stay in the race for the title and this has to go down as a must-win game as any slip ups from hereon will make life difficult for the reigning champions.
2. The Battle of 3rd and 4th
Even though this is between the 3rd and the 4th on the LaLiga table, there is still a significant gulf in class between the two sides. Los Blancos have a 5 point advantage on Villarreal and the record shows that whenever this champion side have hosted sides with 5th, 6th and 7th ranks over the past couple of months the former has been triumphant hammering 15 goals in those 3 games. But Villarreal are no pushovers, strong at the back with the 2nd best defensive record in the league but it will be a mountain to climb for them to keep Real Madrid’s dangerous front three quiet. Ronaldo and boys ideally should win the game but they have conceded 9 of their last 13 home league games.
3. Visitors Barcelona look to keep their unbeaten run going when they travel to the Anoeta Stadium
Barca are currently unbeaten in the league and as they face a Real Sociedad side who lost their last game 1-0 to Leganes. The Catalans have been very consistent and have bagged their 5th win in last six outings as they beat Levante 3-0 in their first 2018 outing. Matchday 19 clash against Real Sociedad comes just days after the mid-week Copa del Rey clash against Celta Vigo and the red hot form should allow the table toppers clinch a comfortable three points. Real Sociedad still sit in the mid-table and just five points behind 6th placed Villarreal but we have seen them struggle across competitions since mid-November and earn just two wins in ten games.
4. Valencia aims for Top four, while Deportivo looks forward to secure their place in Laliga
Following back-to-back losses to the likes of Barcelona and Celta Vigo, Deportivo did well to hold Villarreal to a 1-1 in their last league fixture. The Galician outfit showed character in Sunday’s football match against the Yellow Submarine, but they need to continue with fine performances in the remainder of the season if they are to secure yet another LaLiga survival. Florin Andone helped Deportivo pick up one point from the Villarreal game, meaning that Valencia defenders should have him at bay. However, on the other hand Valencia came from behind to beat Girona in their last league match and thanks to the triumph they moved one step closer to booking their place in the UEFA Champions League berth for next year.
5. Atletico Madrid currently sit nine points behind league leaders Barcelona in the Laliga table and hope to close the gap.
Atletico have regained their consistency and are all set to travel to Eibar after a convincing victory against Lleida and Getafe. However, on the other hand Eibar are unbeaten in their last five league games and sit just one point outside the Europa League spots. It will be an interesting fixture when these team meet each other at Eibar’s homeground.