Miami looms over Camp Nou as Barca hosts Girona in La Liga

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are already playing catch-up to Barcelona while Villarreal hosts rival Valencia.

Girona is at the Camp Nou this weekend, with the return fixture set to be, controversially, switched to Miami.   -  File image/Getty Images

Barcelona is the only team left with a perfect record in La Liga but its match against Girona on Sunday is not all about the points.

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are already playing catch-up on the Catalans while Villarreal hosts rival Valencia at the Estadio de la Ceramica.

Here, we look at five things to look out for in the Spanish top flight this weekend.

Barca and Girona do battle in Spain

Girona took the lead at the Camp Nou last season but by the finish, Luis Suarez had a hat-trick and Barcelona had scored six.

It would be a brave person to bet against another home win on Sunday but hanging in the air too will be the very real possibility this match is not returned.

The reverse fixture in Girona in January is set to be switched to Miami, even if various parties still need to give the plan the green light.

Part of the deal is for this weekend's Camp Nou game to be free for 5,000 Girona fans. It could be its last chance to see Barca up close for another year.

Neighbours in need of a boost

Mestalla was rocking for Valencia's Champions League return on Wednesday and so was the team's defence as 10-man Juventus, without the sent off Cristiano Ronaldo, still cruised to a comfortable win.

“I am not worried but I expected a better performance,” said their manager Marcelino, who has worked wonders since becoming the club's sixth coach in 20 months, but is yet to taste victory this term.

A frenzied grudge match away to Villarreal could be the antidote, particularly as its opponent is struggling too, 14th, with only two goals in four games.

Real Madrid set for another keeper swap

Its first points dropped at Athletic Bilbao last weekend has done little to puncture the enthusiasm at Real Madrid, which has made a stronger start to life after Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane than many expected.

Espanyol is the visitor on Saturday and it will probably be up against Thibaut Courtois, with Keylor Navas likely to find his impressive midweek display insufficient to stay in goal.

Alternating keepers is a diplomatic solution but, probably, not a long-term one.

Getafe ready to capitalise on Atleti dip

Atletico has not lost, or even conceded a goal, to Getafe in 13 meetings, a run that stretches back to 2011.

Diego Simeone's favourite opponent arrives at a time of need, given Atleti's sluggish start puts it seven points adrift of Barcelona already.

A morale-boosting victory away to Monaco on Tuesday could prove a springboard but Getafe should offer a sterner test this time.

Jose Bordalas took charge two years ago this month with the team second bottom of the second division, before leading it to promotion, and an eighth-place finish in La Liga last term. It now sits fifth - four spots above Atletico.

Valladolid chases a win, and a goal

It has the one of the game's greatest ever strikers as its owner but the Brazilian Ronaldo's Real Valladolid is yet to score in the league.

Only two goalless draws keeping it off the bottom but neither form, nor changes higher up, appear to threaten the position of coach Sergio Gonzalez, who has been given a contract extension until 2020.

It faces another difficult assignment on Saturday, a trip to high-flying Celta Vigo. Celta sits third and, even if defeat to Girona last weekend clipped its wings a little, it has its sights set on Europe.

 

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Friday: Huesca vs Real Sociedad (1900)

Saturday: Rayo Vallecano vs Alaves (1100), Celta Vigo vs Real Valladolid (1415), Eibar vs Leganes (1415), Getafe vs Atletico Madrid (1630), Real Madrid vs Espanyol (1845)

Sunday: Levante vs Sevilla (1000), Villarreal vs Valencia (1415), Real Betis vs Athletic Bilbao (1800), Barcelona vs Girona (1845)

 

 

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