Mon, 25 Sep 2023

Four things to look out for in Spain's Matchday 5

Xinhua
15 Sep 2023, 21:18 GMT+10

MADRID, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- As La Liga enters its fifth round following the season's first international break and just before European competition kicks off next week, here's what to anticipate in Spain's top-tier football in the upcoming days.

1. Bellingham against Kubo in the Bernabeu

Jude Bellingham, despite his hefty price tag of over 100 million euros, has emerged as the season's revelation in Spain. His stellar club form was evident during England's international break matches.

With Vinicius Jr sidelined due to injury, Real Madrid will rely on Bellingham's prowess as they host an undefeated Real Sociedad at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Sunday evening.

Real Sociedad's standout player, former Real Madrid talent Take Kubo, has been in exceptional form. Supported by the likes of Mikel Oyarzabal and Brais Mendez, fans can anticipate a thrilling, attack-driven match.

2. Barcelona steps into the unknown against Betis

Barcelona's coach, Xavi Hernandez, is keenly awaiting updates on Ilkay Gundogan's recovery from a fall during Germany's recent match against France.

If Gundogan remains unavailable, Frenkie de Jong might have to adjust his position. The absence of key players like Pedri and Ronald Araujo further complicates matters for Xavi. However, Ferran Torres' promising start and the additions of Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo could rejuvenate Barca's strategy.

Despite his unimpressive stints at Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, Joao Felix's undeniable talent and affinity for Barca might indicate a new chapter in his career.

3. Big test for Pacheta at Villarreal

Jose Rojo 'Pacheta's appointment as Quique Setien's successor at Villarreal raised eyebrows. Known for guiding mid-tier clubs to top-flight promotions, Pacheta's La Liga experience has been cut short in previous roles. His debut with Villarreal will be against Almeria, a team currently languishing with one draw and three losses.

Almeria's coach, Vicente Moreno, is also feeling the heat, setting the stage for an intriguing contest. Pacheta's pragmatic approach, contrasting with Setien's flair, will be under scrutiny.

4. Big moment for Valencia

After a tumultuous previous season, Valencia's current roster seems even more challenged. However, under the guidance of Ruben Baraja, they began the season with impressive victories over Sevilla and Las Palmas.

Subsequent losses to Alaves and Osasuna have dampened spirits. Their upcoming match against Atletico Madrid, who recently had a game postponed due to inclement weather, is crucial.

New signing Roman Yaremchuk is expected to bolster Valencia's attack, but so far, Pepelu, acquired from local rivals Levante, has been the standout.

With a challenging fixture list ahead, Valencia's performance on Saturday could set the tone for the next few weeks.

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