Round 15 of the 2018/19 La Liga season is headlined by the derby clash between Espanyol and Barcelona, while high-flying Sevilla will have their strength tested by Valencia at Estadio de Mestalla.
The Catalan Derby, also known as ‘Derbi Barceloni’, is most prolific in-city rivalry in La Liga history and holds a special place in Spanish football folklore. Barcelona are very much the dominant force, with far more victories and honours to their name compared to the Blanquiazules.
This time around there is not a massive gap between the teams on the league table, with leaders Barcelona only seven points ahead of Espanyol, though manager Rubi and his charges will be smarting from a run of three successive losses in La Liga, culminating in a 3-0 reverse away to Getafe last Saturday.
Barca are looking to defend their position atop the log and will hope to shrug off a lengthening injury list for their trip to the RCDE Stadium on Saturday night. The last meeting between the teams was at the same venue back in April and ended in a 1-1 draw, with Gerard Pique scoring late on to cancel out Gerard Moreno’s opener.
The other key match of the round sees Geoffrey Kondogbia’s Valencia hosting Sevilla on Saturday evening. The away side will go top of the log and put the pressure on Barca if they can get a win at the Mestalla, but Valencia have been impressive at home in recent weeks and will want to bounce back from their defeat to Real Madrid last weekend.
On the subject of Los Blancos, they face a trip away to Huesca on Sunday evening. Manager Santiago Solari saw his side slump to a 3-0 defeat at Eibar in their last away game and will be determined to bring a better performance out of his charges when they head to Estadio El Alcoraz. Huesca, for their part, are winless in 15 matches across all competitions and sit at the very bottom of the Liga table.
Ghanaians Thomas Partey and Mubarak Wakaso could well go head-to-head in midfield when Atletico Madrid welcome Deportivo Alaves for what should be a tough battle at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano in the early game on Saturday.
Other African stars to watch out for include Youssef En-Nesyri for Leganes at home to Amath Ndiaye’s Getafe in the opening game of the round on Friday night, Karl Toko Ekambi and Samuel Chukwueze for Villarreal against Sofiane Boufal’s Celta de Vigo, and Aissa Mandi for Real Betis against Gilbert Imbula’s Rayo Vallecano.
Key match stats
Valencia v Sevilla – Head-to-head, all competitions
Matches played 51
Valencia wins 24
Sevilla wins 19
Espanyol v Barcelona – Head-to-head, all competitions
Matches played 61
Espanyol wins 7
Barcelona wins 40
Atletico Madrid v Deportivo Alaves – Head-to-head, all competitions
Matches played 12
Atletico wins 5
Alaves wins 4
La Liga fixtures, 7-10 December
All times CAT
Friday 7 December
22:00: Leganes v Getafe – LIVE on SS7, Max2 & SelGo4
Saturday 8 December
14:00: Atletico Madrid v Deportivo Alaves – LIVE on SS7, Max2 & SelGo4
17:15: Valencia v Sevilla – LIVE on SS7, Max2 & SelGo4
19:30: Villarreal v Celta de Vigo – LIVE on SS7/SS10, Max360 & SelGo4
21:45: Espanyol v Barcelona – LIVE on SS7, Max2 & SelGo4
Sunday 9 December
13:00: Eibar v Levante – LIVE on SS7/SS10, Max360 & SelGo4
17:15: Huesca v Real Madrid – LIVE on SS7, Max2 & SelGo4
19:30: Real Sociedad v Real Valladolid – LIVE on SS7, Max2 & SelGo4
21:45: Real Betis v Rayo Vallecano – LIVE on SS7, Max2 & SelGo4
Monday 10 December
22:00: Athletic Bilbao v Girona – LIVE on SS7, Max2 & SelGo4