Four things to look out for in Spain's matchday 11

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-02 20:01:52|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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MADRID, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- There was plenty of drama in last weekend's matchday 10 in La Liga as Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid 5-1 to prompt the sacking of Los Merengues coach Julen Lopetegui. Santiago Solari is now in the Madrid hot seat and how his side performs with a new man in charge is one of several things to look out for in Spain's matchday 11.

1. Can Solari turn things around at Real Madrid?

Santiago Solari was promoted from Real Madrid's B team on Monday to replace the sacked Julen Lopetegui on a temporary basis and his first game in charge saw a much-changed team win their Copa del Rey 4-0 away to Meililla.

Melilla play their football two categories below Real Madrid, so the result probably doesn't say too much about any major changes under Solari, but it has helped lift morale at a club which looked to be sinking deeper into depression with each passing game.

Valladolid should provide a good test for Solari and Real Madrid. The recently-promoted side travel to Madrid with four wins and a draw from their last five games, in which they have conceded just twice.

A good start from Madrid will lift the crowd in the Bernabeu, who are eager to see a return to form. Valladolid will hope to keep it tight and snuff out any reaction. This game could be all about morale.

2. Barca to maintain the tension in Vallecas?

Ernesto Valverde's Barcelona side produced another excellent display without Lionel Messi to thrash Real Madrid 5-1 in last weekend's "El Clasico" fixture. Valverde's side have so far stepped up to the mark in tough games against AC Milan and Madrid to show they are not totally dependent on the Argentinean striker.

On paper, struggling Rayo Vallecano, who have yet to win at home this season, are less fearsome opponents than Madrid or Inter, but Valverde will be at pains to remind his players that their only defeat this season also came in the south of Madrid against Leganes, who were bottom of the table at the time.

Barca should have few problems claiming all three points in the small Vallecas Stadium, but they need to maintain the tension they have shown in recent matches, because if not, anything can happen.

3. Valencia to get back to winning ways?

It has been a tough start to the season for Valencia, whose strikers have been misfiring since the beginning of the campaign.

Although Marcelino Garcia's side remain solid in defense, they have scored just seven goals in 10 games, and have won just one game while drawing eight.

Last weekend saw another 0-0 draw in Bilbao, where Valencia were over-conservative, but they will see the visit of Girona to the Mestalla as the chance to claim their second win of the season. Girona play attractive football under Eusebio Sacristan, but can be vulnerable in defense.

If Valencia are to gain three vital points and have players such as Rodrigo or Dani Parejo getting back among the goals, Saturday is their big chance.

4. Make or break for Calleja in east coast derby?

Villarreal have also had a tough start to the campaign, and after finishing last season in fifth place, the side coached by Javier Calleja are currently languishing in 17th, with five defeats from their 10 games.

The Yellow Submarine were hardly convincing in the Copa del Rey on Thursday, surrendering a 3-1 lead to allow second-tier Almeria to draw 3-3, and Calleja will no doubt be aware that the club has a reputation of acting rapidly to change coaches if club President Fernando Roig believes things are not going to plan.

Calleja himself was promoted from the Villarreal B team after his predecessor Fran Escriba was sacked after just six games last season.

Villarreal have lost key players such as Samu Castellejo and Rodri, but the feeling is they should be doing better, and failure to beat Levante on Sunday could see Calleja follow Escriba out of the door.