No rest for Barca ahead of Spain's matchday 9

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-19 19:18:33|Editor: Yang Yi
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MADRID, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona have to overcome a lack of rest between games but will be confident of continuing their unbeaten start to the season in matchday nine of the Spanish Liga Santander.

Barca fans may be wondering how the fixture calendar has put their home game against Malaga on Saturday night after they played a Champions League clash against Olympiakos on Wednesday, while Real Madrid, who played on Tuesday, have been given until Sunday before their match at home to Eibar.

Barca will bring Jordi Alba back into their starting 11 and should have more than enough firepower to get past a Malaga side that is rock bottom of the Liga Santander with just one point and seven defeats from their opening eight matches.

The round of matches kicks off on Friday night when Levante entertain Getafe in a game between two sides who were promoted at the end of last season and continues on Saturday lunchtime when Betis entertain Alaves.

Betis were beaten 6-3 by Valencia last weekend, but still showed they are a thrilling side to watch, while Alaves' ultra-defensive approach saw them lose 2-0 at home to Real Sociedad and they still have just three points from their opening eight matches.

Their win away to Betis confirmed Valencia as the revelation of the season to date and lifted Marcelino Garcia Toral's side into second place in the league table. They have the chance to confirm the positive start at home to a Sevilla side that appears to have come back groggy following the recent international break.

Last Saturday saw Sevilla lose 1-0 to Athletic Club Bilbao, before they were hammered 5-1 away to Spartak Moscow in the Champions League, to raise the first question marks against coach Eduardo Berrizo.

Valencia meanwhile are scoring goals at will and striker Simone Zaza was this week named as the Liga Santander Player of the Month for September.

Villarreal aim to continue their good run of form under new coach Javi Calleja, when they entertain Las Palmas, who are reeling following their 5-2 home defeat to Celta on Monday night.

Celta meanwhile look to confirm their improvement when they take on Atletico Madrid, whose options of progressing in Europe suffered a huge setback on Wednesday when they could only draw 0-0 away to Qarabag.

There are good relationships between Leganes and Athletic Club Bilbao, who meet in Butarque on Sunday with both sides looking to build on their win last weekend, before Real Madrid entertain Eibar.

Eibar have disappointed at the start to the season and are missing key player Pedro Leon, while Real Madrid's 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham on Tuesday means they have had the worst start to the season at home in terms of results since the 1998-99 campaign.

Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal are both likely to miss out for Madrid, while Ivan Ramis is also sidelined for the visitors after suffering a knee injury. Madrid's away form is excellent and they will see a game against a side that conceded six in the Camp Nou as the chance to get back on track in front of their fans.