Four things to look out for on Spain's matchday 9

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-20 16:59:52|Editor: Zhou Xin
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MADRID, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Matchday 9 of the Liga Santander sees Barcelona play at home to struggling Malaga, while Real Madrid entertain a below-par Eibar, while second place Valencia are at home to Sevilla side who also need to improve. These are four things to look out for this weekend in Spain.

1 Michel's last stand in the Camp Nou?

If your side has seven defeats and just a draw to their name after eight matches, possibly the last place you want to visit is the Camp Nou Stadium, but that is what Michel Gonzalez's Malaga side have to do on Saturday.

Many are surprised Michel has kept his job after such a poor start to the season, but perhaps the club owner Sheik al Thani knows much of the blame lies with him after Malaga's squad was dismantled over the summer.

Maybe Saturday is the best day for Malaga to visit the Camp Nou as it comes hot on the heels of Wednesday's Champions League tie at home to Olympiakos, allowing little recovery time, but Barca still have plenty of options and nobody has forgotten that it was a defeat in Malaga last season than cost them the league title.

2 Real Madrid to recover home form?

Real Madrid's 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham in the Champions League means they have three wins, three draws and a defeat in their first seven home matches of the campaign. While many sides would be happy with that and with the 11 goals scored in the Bernabeu, for Real Madrid it represents their worst start to the season at home since the 1998-99 season and their worst goals tally since 2004.

Eibar could prove some relief as the Basque side travel to Madrid hovering just above the relegation zone, without key players Ivan Ramis and Pedro Leon and looking a less compact outfit than in recent years. Barca scored six past Eibar in the Camp Nou and Real Madrid will hope they can provide some much needed home comforts.

3 Valencia to make Sevilla suffer?

Valencia's thrilling 6-3 win away to Betis confirmed them as this season's revelation and the side coached by Marcelino Garcia will look to build on that with a home win against Sevilla on Saturday.

The return to action following the international break has not been kind to Sevilla, who lost 1-0 in Bilbao before crashing to a 5-1 defeat against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League to raise the first question marks over coach Eduardo Berizzo and his policy of squad rotations.

Saturday's game in Mestalla is another test of Valencia's credentials, but also of Sevilla's and Berizzo needs his players to perform in what is likely to be a party atmosphere in the Mestalla Stadium.

4 Defensive solidity the secret for Leganes

They may be the least glamorous side in the Liga Santander and many tipped them for relegation, but Leganes are currently sixth in the league table with 14 points from eight games.

Although Asier Garitano's side have only scored seven goals in those eight matches, that hasn't been an issue as they the best defensive record in LaLiga with just three goals against.

Garitano has his players working as a unit and that means they take full advantage of the few goals they score.

Athletic Club Bilbao travel to Butarque on Sunday following a dreadful performance in Europe on Thursday in which they looked slow and lethargic; unless they are able to recover and improve, Leganes could be set for another clean sheet and three more vital points.