Fri, 22 Jan 2021

MADRID, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The 12th round of matches in La Liga sees the start of a decisive week for Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid, while FC Barcelona will hope Antoine Griezmann's upturn in form continues and Atletico Madrid welcome Luis Suarez back after COVID-19. Here are some things to look out for this weekend.

1. Make or break for Zidane

Zinedine Zidane's job at Real Madrid is in the balance after defeats to Alaves and Shakhtar Donestsk and there is no doubt he will be sacked if Madrid fail to reach the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday.

However, before that vital game against Borussia Monchengladbach, Real Madrid have a difficult visit to Sevilla, who are fifth in La Liga, a point behind Real Madrid with a game in hand.

Although Sevilla lost 4-0 to Chelsea on Wednesday, coach Julen Lopetegui rested seven key players for this Saturday and will field his strongest available side, Zidane must hope the return of Sergio Ramos will bring more order to a team that has been chaotic in recent weeks, otherwise there is a chance he may not even make it to Wednesday.

2 Griezmann at last showing his worth

Antoine Griezmann has enjoyed his best 10 day spell since joining FC Barcelona with three goals and three excellent performances in three games. The Frenchman will look to maintain that form when Barca visit Cadiz on Saturday.

Ousmane Dembele is another player who has taken his chances and looks to finally be recovering his fitness and form after a difficult two years with injuries.

Cadiz have not won at home since returning to the top flight and their early season adrenaline rush looks to have died down and that means that Barca, who rested Leo Messi and Marc Andre Ter Stegen in midweek, are clear favorites to take all three points.

3 Suarez back to add goals

Although Atletico Madrid have won their two La Liga games without Luis Suarez, who has sidelined with COVID-19 for the past fortnight, there is a feeling that the 1-0 win at home to Barca and the 1-0 win in Valencia (which came courtesy of an own goal) would have been more comfortable if he had been available to apply the finishing touch to the attacking play Atletico produced in both games.

That theory stands up in the Champions League where Atletico were held 0-0 by Lokomotiv Moscow and 1-1 by a much-changed Bayern Munich in games where they failed to take their chances.

Suarez will be back for Saturday's home game against Valladolid and with Atletico maybe needing to rest players ahead of next week's vital trip to Salzburg, his ability to poach goals could be vital.

4 Real Sociedad looking tired?

Real Sociedad remain top of La Liga but the past week has seen Imanol's side look tired after the fixture calendar has not allowed them any time to rest. Last Sunday they drew 1-1 at home to Villarreal and Thursday saw them surprisingly held by Rijeka in a game that leaves their Europa League future in the balance.

Sunday sees Imanol's side face a short but difficult trip to face Alaves, who are unbeaten in five games and last weekend won away to Real Madrid. Alaves had adapted to a five-man defense, while in attack Joselu and Lucas Perez are lethal on the break and will punish any loss of concentration from the league leaders.

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