While the last day of LaLiga Santander, the one played just before the international break, featured a duel between the top two in the standings, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, the return of club football now places the teams third, fourth, fifth and sixth in the standings meet in two games that should be electric.
Atlético de Madrid, Real Betis, Real Sociedad and Villarreal CF will face off in a sort of ‘Final Four’ in the race for the European qualifying spots. The teams that currently occupy the last two places in the Champions League will face those that are currently in position to qualify for the Europa League and the Conference League. These two head-to-head battles will give each club the chance to widen or narrow the gap at this end of the table.
All four of these teams have been knocked out of their respective European competitions this season, meaning qualifying for continental football next year is now their only remaining goal for the remainder of this campaign. Thus, this Sunday’s double day will be key to finding out which teams will fight for a Champions League ticket and which clubs will have to defend their positions in the Europa League and the Conference League to enter next year’s European draws.
Atlético de Madrid and Real Betis, currently third and fifth, will face each other in the last match of the day on Sunday. Diego Simeone’s unit is on a roll in 2023, as their only game lost this calendar year came on January 8 against FC Barcelona. He has gone 10 games without defeat since then and has shone especially at home, where they have beaten Athletic Club 1-0, Sevilla FC 6-1 and Valencia CF 3-0 to consolidate their third position in the table. the classification.
the verdiblancos He is six points behind the Madrid team but only three points behind the fourth place, so he hopes to close the gap and avenge his 2-1 defeat against athletic when these teams met at the Estadio Benito Villamarín earlier in the season. With the quest to finish in the top four so tight, head-to-head records could end up being decisive if the teams finish level on points, so this is another factor that Manuel Pellegrini’s side will have to take into account.
Just before that game at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, fans can tune in to watch sixth-placed Villarreal CF take on fourth-placed Real Sociedad, two teams who also just dropped out of this season’s European competitions. The team led by Quique Setién currently has 41 points, which means that they are seven behind the Basques and make this game one of their last options to return to the fight for the Champions League. The Yellow Submarine will seek to return from the break with a victory, which would be the fourth in five days in LaLiga Santander. They recently drew another head-to-head against Real Betis, before pulling off a great 3-0 win at CA Osasuna last time out.
As for Real Sociedad, they beat Villarreal CF 1-0 earlier in the season and beat Elche CF 2-0 in their previous match, a result that broke a losing streak of results. They will be keen for another treble at the Estadio de la Cerámica to open a gap to their immediate pursuers and move closer to their dream of returning to the Champions League for the first time since 2013.
These are two important games and the four clubs involved will be keeping an eye on the other score, as well as their own. The results this Sunday at the Estadio de la Cerámica and the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano could make the difference in this year’s Champions League race, a goal shared by all coaches. With this afternoon of direct duels, LaLiga Santander returns in style.
Tags: Atlético de Madrid, FC Barcelona, LaLiga Santander, Real Betis, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Villarreal CF