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Midweek fixtures test Primera Liga teams

(Xinhua)

10:07, September 20, 2011

MADRID, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- With little time to catch breath, the Spanish BBVA Primera Liga moves straight into another round of midweek matches over the coming days.

Tuesday sees Osasuna look to recover from their 8-0 mauling at the Camp Nou stadium against Sevilla. Osasuna coach Jose Luis Mendilibar said he told his players to start thinking about the forthcoming game at halftime in their defeat against Barcelona and the home side will be looking to make up for their worst defeat in 53 years against a Sevilla side that is not at its best, but still unbeaten.

Real Sociedad, who were beaten by Sevilla on Saturday, entertain Granada: the home side are without key midfielder Xabi Prieto with an ankle injury and top scorer Imanol Agirretxe will return to the starting 11 while Granada have gained confidence after their first win of the season on Saturday..

The bulk of the games take place with Real Madrid and Barcelona's matches, the main attraction.

Real Madrid travel to Racing Santander and Jose Mourinho's side, who will be without the suspended Sami Khedira, will look to recover from their shock defeat to Levante on Sunday night.

Racing lost 4-0 to Atletico Madrid on Sunday and could be just the sort of rivals Madrid need to bounce back with a win.

The best game of the day, however, sees Barcelona travel to Valencia. Valencia are currently top of the table with a 100 percent record, while Barca bounced back to form with that 8-0 win against Osasuna.

Valencia are well organized and have an in-form striker in Roberto Soldado, whereas Barca can score goals at will. There is also a possibility that Gerard Pique could return in defense.

Elsewhere Atletico Madrid will aim to show their improved form against Sporting Gijon, the only side in spain without a point from the first three games of the season.

Radamal Falcao and Diego Ribas have quickly become the new heroes of the Vicente Calderon and the Atletico fans will be expecting another easy win.

Wednesday also sees Rayo Vallecano look to continue their unbeaten start to the campaign against Real Madrid' s conquerors - Levante. Both look to be well organized with a team spirit overcoming a lack of star players.

Athletic Club Bilbao in contrast have plenty of talented players, but were chaotic as they lost to Betis on Sunday. The Athletic players appear to be struggling with the new tactics and strange team selections of coach Marcelo Bielsa, who is under pressure after two defeats in two matches.

Athletic's trip to Malaga could highlight the work that Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini has done with his expensive squad. Pellegrini has given Malaga balance and his team look set to challenge for a top six spot this season.

Villarreal play Mallorca on Wednesday in a match between two sides struggling for early season form.

The round of matches ends on Thursday when Espanyol entertain Getafe, while Betis could go top of the table, depending on what happens on Wednesday, if they can win their match against Zaragoza.

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