Messi back from India to resume Spanish liga action

September 9th, 2011 - 3:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Arsenal Madrid, Sep 9 (IANS) Spanish football returns to action this weekend following last week’s break for international matches.

FC Barcelona kick off the round of games with a trip to play Real Sociedad in San Sebastian. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola will hope that players such as Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano will have recovered after travelling to India with the Argentinean national side.

Guardiola will also hope to have Carles Puyol available after injury, while the game could see former Arsenal teammates Cesc Fabrigas and Carlos Vela up against each other for the first time.

Real Madrid play their first home game of the season against local rivals Getafe. Real Madrid have looked to be in fine form at the start of the campaign and will expect an easy win against a side that is missing several players in defence.

Barcelona won their first match of the season 5-0 against Villarreal a fortnight ago, while Madrid scored six in Zaragoza. Should they both cruise to victory this weekend, it will only raise more doubts about the unequal share of television money, which sees both clubs receive over 100 million euros more per season than any of their rivals.

Jose Maria del Nido and Fernando Roig, the presidents of Sevilla and Villarreal, have been two of the loudest critics of the current TV deals.

Villarreal need to bounce back following their defeat to Barcelona, while Sevilla aim to build on a 2-1 win over big spending Malaga and continue their positive start in the Primera Liga following a disappointing exit from Europe.

Valencia entertain Atletico Madrid Saturday night in what should be the league debut for Atletico’s star striker Radamal Falcao. Meanwhile Roberto Soldado looks to add to his opening day hat-trick for Valencia.

Sunday kicks off at mid-day in Seville, when Betis entertain Mallorca. Neither side is happy with the prospect of having to deal with temperatures which could rise above 35 degrees centigrade.

Racing Santander entertain Levante in a game between two sides expected to struggle this season, while Sporting Gijon travel to play Osasuna aiming to recover from their opening day defeat against Real Sociedad.

Rayo Vallecano and Zaragoza face each other in Vallecas in a game between two clubs in severe financial difficulties. Zaragoza travel following their 6-0 humbling at home to Real Madrid, while Rayo play in front of their fans on the back of a creditable 1-1 draw in Bilbao.

Athletic Bilbao meanwhile hope to end 13 years without a win away to Espanyol on the last game to be played in Sunday.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side appear to be struggling to adapt to their new coach’s preferred style of play while striker Fernando Llorente has not scored in his last eight matches.

Big spending Malaga aim to recover from their opening day setback to Sevilla when they face recently promoted Granada in an Andalusian derby Sep 12.

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