Sat, 09 Dec 2023

MADRID, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- There is no rest in La Liga as the eighth round of games kicks off on Friday night, without a day of rest between the final games in matchday seven on Thursday.

Barcelona and Sevilla are first in action, with Barca needing to improve in defense after conceding four goals in their last two matches, and coach Xavi Hernandez will presumably continue with his policy of squad rotations.

He is hampered by injuries to midfielders, Pedri and Frenkie de Jong, but Robert Lewandowski and winger Lamine Yamal are both likely to start.

Getafe coach Jose Bordalas will watch from the stands following his sending off in Bilbao on Wednesday night, as his side entertain Villarreal.

The visitors are still searching for consistency after losing 2-1 at home to Girona on Wednesday.

That win made Girona surprise La Liga leaders, with Michel's side winning their last six games to sit on top of the table with 19 points from seven games.

Girona have been playing entertaining, attacking football, but they face their toughest test of the season to date when Real Madrid visit the Montilivi Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Madrid recovered from their defeat to Atletico Madrid to beat Las Palmas 2-0 in midweek, but they will need to improve in defense, as players such as Savio and powerful forward Artem Dovbyk can exploit their weaknesses in defending crosses.

Rayo Vallecano take on Mallorca in another of Saturday's games, before the day ends with the Basque derby between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao in San Sebastian.

Consecutive wins have lifted Real Sociedad to sixth in the table and another win would lift them above their local rivals.

Athletic should have Spain international winger Nico Williams available after a groin injury he suffered on international duty, but are without the injured Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta and Oihan Sancet, who was sent off in their 2-2 draw against Getafe.

Real Sociedad rested Takefusa Kubo, Brais Mendez, Martin Zubimendi and Ander Barrenetxea for their win in Valencia, and they will start in the biggest game of the year for the home side.

Sunday kicks off with an Andalusian derby in the relegation zone, as bottom side Almeria entertain second-from-bottom Granada.

Alberto Lasarte is likely to be in the Almeria dugout after the club sacked coach Vicente Moreno in the wake of the 5-1 defeat in Sevilla that leaves them with two points from their first seven games.

Osasuna travel to face Alaves in another derby without striker Chimy Avila and coach Jagoba Arrasate after both were sent off in the bad-tempered 2-0 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid on Thursday night.

Alvaro Morata was also sent off in the closing minutes of that game and he will miss Atletico's home game against Cadiz.

Real Betis entertain Valencia in what looks like an evenly balanced game, as Valencia look to recover from their 1-0 defeat at home to Real Sociedad, while Betis were held in Granada. Valencia midfielder Selim Amallah also misses out through suspension after his midweek red card.

Third-from-bottom Las Palmas and fourth-from-bottom Celta Vigo close the round of matches on Monday, with the loser of that game knowing they will spend the coming week in the uncomfortable position of the relegation zone.

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