When the 2023/24 LALIGA EA SPORTS schedule was released, Matchday 13 immediately stood out as being one of the most mouthwatering of the entire season. There are so many huge fixtures coming up this weekend, not least ELGRAN DERBI between Sevilla FC and Real Betis on Sunday evening.
Several more fascinating fixtures are on the schedule before that rivalry match, including Athletic Club vs RC Celta on Friday night. The coaches in this fixture, Ernesto Valverde and Rafa Benítez, are both two-time winners of the Spanish championship, but the latter currently finds himself in the relegation zone with RC Celta and looking to escape the bottom three. With Athletic Club in fifth and chasing European qualification, both these sides have a lot to play for when the ball gets rolling at San Mamés.
Girona FC, the new league leaders, are in action in the first of Saturday’s games. It’ll be a very special occasion for their coach Míchel, as he returns to Rayo Vallecano, the club he used to play for and manage. Míchel is still beloved in Vallecas, but this will be a tough test for his side as they take on a Rayo Vallecano team who have gone eight rounds without losing in LALIGA EA SPORTS, which is a club record.
Bottom-placed UD Almería are in action next when they host Real Sociedad and they are desperate to secure their first victory of the season. The two Basque coaches in this fixture, Gaizka Garitano and Imanol Alguacil, know each other very well, so should be an interesting duel at the Power Horse Stadium.
There are then two fixtures taking place simultaneously at 18:30 CET on Saturday, with Granada CF vs Getafe CF and CA Osasuna vs UD Las Palmas. Given that both games are between teams fighting for similar objectives in the standings, the two duels promise to be lively.
Another huge game will then take place in the Spanish capital on Saturday night when Real Madrid host Valencia CF. These two clubs come into this clash with identical form across the past four matchdays, during which time both sides have collected eight points. Valencia CF haven’t won at the Bernabéu since 2008, but this is a young and energetic Los Che side that is full of confidence.
On Sunday, there are three more matches. FC Barcelona vs Deportivo Alavés is the first of them, at 16:15 CET, and the Basque side will travel to Catalonia with fond memories of their previous away game against Barça, a 1-1 draw in October of 2021. That was just before Xavi took over in the Barça dugout and the current coach will be determined to put on a show for the fans at Montjuïc on this occasion.
ELGRAN DERBI follows at 18:30 CET on Sunday evening, and this is always one of the standout fixtures on the LALIGA EA SPORTS calendar. Widely considered to be one of the most passionate derbies in world football, considering 17 percent of the city’s residents are registered members of either Sevilla FC or Real Betis, ELGRAN DERBI always delivers. Of their past 15 meetings, only three of them have been won by more than one goal, which shows that this is almost always a closely fought game. With Sevilla FC having home advantage for this one but Real Betis approaching the game in better form, anything could happen.
The final fixture of the matchday is another juicy one, as Atlético de Madrid do battle with Villarreal CF. For Diego Simeone, El Submarino Amarillo are one of the trickiest opponents he has had during his tenure as he has won just seven of their 22 meetings and hasn’t achieved victory on the past three occasions when Villarreal CF have visited the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano. Having lost to a team wearing yellow last matchday, at UD Las Palmas, Simeone will be determined to get back to winning ways this time around.