Four things to look out for on Spain's matchday 3

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-08 15:58:58|Editor: Zhou Xin
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MADRID, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Spanish Liga Santander returns to action after a fortnight's break for international football and as always there are plenty of questions that need to be answered.

1. How will the Camp Nou react to Bartomeu

It has not been a good summer for Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who saw how Neymar joined Paris Saint Germain in a huge blow to the club's prestige.

Barca reacted by spending a club record on signing Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund and spending 40 million euros on Brazilian midfielder Paulinho, but failed to bring in Coutinho from Liverpool in a disastrous end to the transfer window in which two further signings were mentioned and none arrived.

Furthermore, Leo Messi has yet to sign a new contract and Andres Iniesta publically denied he had agreed terms for an extended deal just 24 hours after Bartomeu said he had and the problems continue to mount up for a man who is fast losing credibility.

Fans booed Bartomeu at Dembele's presentation and he can expect more of the same when Barca take on local rivals Espanyol on Saturday night; Bartomeu needs Dembele and Paulinho to hit the ground running, otherwise he is in deep trouble.

2. Can Bale and Benzema turn jeers into cheers?

Both Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema will be under the spotlight when Real Madrid entertain Levante on Saturday lunchtime.

Although Cristiano Ronaldo has not yet played in the league this season due to suspension, neither of Madrid's supposedly first choice forwards have so far stepped up to replace him. Benzema missed chances in the 2-2 draw against Valencia, while Bale was booed by a section of the fans and there was even talk he could have left in the transfer window.

With Ronaldo back soon after suspension and Marco Asensio so far taking the headlines, Bale and Benzema need to turn it on in the Bernabeu otherwise they could find themselves on the subs bench rather than in the starting 11.

3. Which side will be first into crisis?

Although the season is only two games old, there is a feeling that some clubs are already on the verge of crisis. Five teams kicked off their campaign with successive defeats: Celta Vigo, Malaga, Villarreal, Las Palmas and Alaves, that means defeat in their third match would set alarm bells ringing.

The fixture list has decreed that matchday three will see Malaga entertain Las Palmas, while Celta take on Alaves and Villarreal play at home to a much-improved Betis.

The games in Malaga and Vigo appear to be decisive, for while Celta have played better football that their results imply and Alaves gave Barca a run for their money a fortnight ago, both Malaga and Las Palmas have looked like relegation candidates and a defeat for either of them on Monday night could see the first managerial casualty of the season at a very early date.

4: Real Sociedad to be the surprise package?

Real Sociedad's Sunday lunchtime visit to Deportivo la Coruna promises to be interesting: Eusebio Sacristan's side have kicked off with two impressive wins and they start the weekend as league leaders, with a balanced side and playing flowing confident football. A win in La Coruna would keep them top of the table with their morale sky high as they prepare for a midweek return to European football.

Last season also saw the Basque side enjoy a good start to the campaign which came to a stuttering halt with a 5-1 defeat in Deportivo's Riazor Stadium. Deportivo look to be there for the taking, but the return of Lucas Perez will give them a boost, so this is a perfect moment for Real Sociedad to show just how far they can aim this season.