Matchday 30 promises to be an important weekend in the 2022/23 LaLiga Santander season, not least because two of the top three are facing off as FC Barcelona host Atlético de Madrid at the Spotify Camp Nou. As well as that top-of-the-table tussle, there are also several key duels in the relegation battle.
One of those relegation six-pointers is the opening match of the round, when RCD Espanyol host Cádiz CF. The Catalan club are currently inside the relegation zone and are on a terrible run of form with six defeats in a row, but they’ll know that victory against the Andalusian side – who are coached by former Perico Sergio González – would bring them up to within one point of Cádiz CF.
There are five fixtures taking place this Saturday instead of the usual four, the first of which is CA Osasuna vs Real Betis. Both of these clubs are hoping to qualify for European football next season, while Real Betis will be seeking revenge after losing on penalties to the Pamplona-based team in this season’s Copa del Rey.
Next up is Athletic Club’s trip to the other side of the peninsula to take on UD Almería. The Andalusian side have an impressive home record, but Athletic Club will travel with confidence as they just won the Basque Derby and star forward Iñaki Williams has netted in his past three matches.
There are then two games taking place simultaneously at the 18:30 CEST timeslot, with Real Sociedad at home to Rayo Vallecano and Real Valladolid at home to Girona FC. The first will be a fascinating tactical tussle between Basque coaches Imanol Alguacil and Andoni Iraola, while the latter will see the attack-minded sides of Paulo Pezzolano and Míchel doing battle.
Real Madrid are at home on Saturday night, taking on RC Celta at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. This is a fixture that has produced a lot of goals over recent years, with 19 goals scored across their past four meetings, an average of 4.75 per game. RC Celta haven’t defeated Los Blancos in LaLiga Santander since 2014, but Carlos Carvalhal has the Galicians playing good football and feeling confident, so anything could happen.
Sunday starts off with a huge match, as Elche CF host Valencia CF in a meeting of two Valencian Community sides who currently find themselves in the relegation zone. While Elche CF are rock bottom, Valencia CF are only three points away from safety as they enter Matchday 30 and they’ll view this as a must-win fixture if they’re to stay up. The pressure will be on Los Che, so it’ll be worth tuning in to see how they cope with it.
At 16:15 CEST, there is a blockbuster duel between FC Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid, the two teams with the most points in the 2023 calendar year. Antoine Griezmann is in stellar form as he returns to Catalonia to take on his former club and he’ll hope to lead Atleti to what would be a seventh league win in a row.
RCD Mallorca vs Getafe CF follows, which will be a meeting of two defensively solid sides who boast star strikers in attack, in the form of Vedat Muriqi and Enes Ünal. They have 12 and 13 goals respectively, with only Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema boasting more.
The final match of the round takes place at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, where confidence has returned thanks to the turnaround that new coach José Luis Mendilibar has orchestrated at Sevilla FC. They have moved away from the relegation zone, but still need a few more points to make sure of survival so they’ll go all out to try to defeat Quique Setién’s Villarreal CF outfit. That night-time match will take place in front of an electric atmosphere, which will be the perfect way to conclude the matchday.