Primera Division Week 11 Preview: Relegation six-pointers & unbeaten clashes

Week 11 in the Primera Division sees key battles at both ends of the table, with Espanyol hosting Albacete in a relegation six-pointer and title-race contenders Levante and Valencia play each other with both sides unbeaten this season.

Primera Division Week 11 Preview: Relegation six-pointers & unbeaten clashes
Will Barcelona extend their lead at the top? Photo NurPhoto/Getty

It's bound to be another entertaining week in the Primera Divison, with a whole host of intriguing clashes.

Title race

The leaders FC Barcelona entertain the holders Athletic Club in Sunday's late kick-off. After drawing against Betis, Barcelona's lead at the top of the Primera Division is now just two points ahead of Athletico Madrid and Levante. However, as they have the best attack in the league and the joint-best defence means that if they draw, they will most likely remain in first. So far this season, Barcelona have won all their games at home without conceding a single goal.

Despite returning to winning ways last week against Tenerife, Athletic's title hopes could be virtually over if they lose to Barcelona. Due to a run of three defeats in a row, they are now 12 points behind the leaders. Although, it should be said that they have a game in hand against Oiartzun KE, a game you would expect them to win. If they win, they could move up to fifth place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are Tenerife in the title race? Yes!

If Athletic can be considered still part of the title race, then surely Tenerife have to be part of that calculation. Taking on Oiartzun on Saturday, they sit in fifth place, ten points behind Barcelona. Their home form has been superb, losing just one of their five home matches so far. It has been their away form that has seen the gap open up between the leaders and them, winning just one, losing one (last week to Athletic Club) and three draws.

Oiartzun sits just outside the relegation zone on goal difference, and alongside Tacuense, they are winless so far this season. They've lost their last three matches with their four points coming in draws.

Saturday sees two of the four unbeaten sides meet as Levante entertain Valencia, looking to continue their title hunt.

After Olivia Oprea's last gasp winner against Oiartzun, they've moved up to joint second, just behind Athletico Madrid on goal difference.  If they increase their winning run to four games, that could see them move up into the Champions League places, and possibly even into first place.

But to do that, they would have to become the first home side this season to score against Valencia. Valencia, who have the league's joint best defence, having conceded just two goals, have struggled to break down sides this season on the road. Three of their draws this season have been goalless away draws, and they've only scored three goals on their travels.

Sitting four points behind Levante and four ahead of fifth, no matter what happens, Valencia will remain in fourth.

Ivana Andres is Valencia's captain. Photo: Lars Baron/Getty 

 

Midday on Sunday sees eighth-placed Santa Teresa host second-placed Athletico Madrid.

Santa Teresa has a good home record this season, winning twice, drawing twice and losing just once so far – but they will have a difficult challenge against unbeaten Athletico. And they have failed to win a game in the past six matches, and just remain in the Copa de la Reina places by a point.

Athletico Madrid knows that a slip-up could see them drop down to third, whereas a win could see them climb up into first. After drawing with Valencia last week, they will hope for a quick return to the form that had seen them win their previous seven matches.

Relegation six-pointer

Although it is perhaps a bit too early to use this term, Sunday's clash between RCD Espanyol and Fundacion Albacete really is a six-pointer. As any football fan whose team has suffered through a relegation battle, your campaign can be doomed even when there is a huge array of points available. 

These two sides are at the wrong end of the table, with Espanyol on five points and Albacete actually in the relegation zone with just four points. And both teams go into the game on the back of differing results last weekend. Espanyol secured their first win of the season after beating Santa Teresa thanks to goals from Elisa Del Estal Mateu and Anair Lomba Álvarez. That victory saw them move off the bottom of the table, and they will look to continue that trajectory.

Albacete suffered a 3-2 defeat to Zaragoza in a topsy-turvy encounter where, despite the result, they will be able to take some confidence from. Whilst a defeat for either side is unlikely to be terminal, it doesn't take long for sides to be cut off at the bottom.

Mid-Table clashes

Ninth hosts seventh on Sunday as Zaragoza takes on CD Sporting Club, with just one point separating them, with the top eight clubs in Primera Division qualifying for the Copa de la Reina.

Both sides go into this encounter off the back of wins last weekend, with Zaragoza beating Albacete 3-1 and Sporting defeating Rayo Vallenco 3-1. Sporting is on a two-game winning run whilst Zaragoza are unbeaten over the past three matches.

Sporting is unlikely to move higher up than their current position if they win, whilst Zaragoza could replace them in seventh if they end up victorious.

Sunday's early kick-off sees tenth placed Rayo Vallenco host the bottom side UD Tacuense with seven points between the clubs. Rayo and Tacuense both lost last weekend whilst Tacuense is one of just two sides in the league who has yet to win a game this season. They are also the lowest scorers in the division and they have the joint-worst defence. However, they have drawn three matches with the last draw coming three games ago against Tenerife.

Last week's defeat to Sporting ended a superb run for Rayo Vallenco who had gone unbeaten in four matches, which included three victories. They will hope to return to that form as they look to move into the positions for the Copa de la Reina.

Four points separate Real Sociedad and Real Betis who meet in the weekend's opening fixture. Both sides looking to move towards the Copa de la Reina spots and away from the relegation places.

Real Sociedad returned to winning ways against Tacuense last Sunday, ending a run of four games without a win – however, two of those ended in 1-1 draws.

Although Betis are two places below Sociedad, they arguably had the more impressive result last weekend, after drawing 1-1 with Barcelona – the first points that Barcelona had dropped all season. This was made all more impressive by the fact Betis had lost their previous three matches.

How the table currently stands. Source: http://www.rfef.es/
How the table currently stands. Source: http://www.rfef.es/