After this coming weekend, the German Bundesliga will take more than a month off before resuming regular-season play. Luckily for fans of the Spanish La Liga, though, there will be plenty of action going on in the Primera Division throughout the holiday season. Consider this post your guide to the La Liga 2015 festive fixtures, from the games you should watch to what Spain’s top teams will be hoping to accomplish with the holiday spirit (hopefully) on their side.
Though far from the month-long break provided by the Bundesliga, the La Liga does take the better part of two weeks off for Christmas. As a result, you’ll want to tune in this weekend to get your fill of Spanish league football action before you head off to spend time with family and friends for the holiday season.
There aren’t any huge fixtures on the schedule for the first week of the festive period. Barcelona, who are still leading the La Liga despite picking up their second draw in a row this past weekend, won’t even play in week 16 while Real Madrid will play Rayo Vallecano, a team currently mired in
the relegation zone. That game, scheduled for Sunday, needs to net a win for Real, who have lost three of their last five La Liga matches and who are already in a tight spot following their expulsion from the 2015 – 2016 Copa del Rey. Without some good news this holiday season, Rafa Benitez could be out the door by January.
Regardless of what happens with Real, Atletico Madrid will be looking to make their move in week 16. The Mattress Makers are currently tied with Barcelona on the league standings table, and with the reigning champs taking week 16 off, it’s the perfect opportunity for Atletico to ascend to the top of the table for the first time since they won the title in 2014. Their opponent, Malaga, should be easy to beat—even in an away fixture.
The good news is that Barca should be able to use their two weeks off to center themselves and get back into winning form. Barcelona had to adjust when Lionel Messi was injured earlier this season, with Neymar and Luis Suarez both stepping up to keep Barca on their winning streak. Leo’s back now, but Barcelona have to figure out how to reintegrate him into the soccer squad without losing the groove they found in his absence. In addition, Neymar has to get over a minor hamstring injury, which he should be able to do before donning the Barcelona home jersey 2015/16 on December 30th for a game against Real Betis.
Week 17 will also pit Real Madrid against Real Sociedad and
Atletico Madrid against Rayo Vallecano. Equally worthy of attention during the festive period are the matches of Celta Vigo, Villarreal, and Deportivo La Coruna. All three football clubs have been inching up the table in recent weeks. Celta Vigo are just two points behind Real Madrid and close to pushing into the top three, while Deportivo drew a match with Barcelona this past weekend; and Villarreal beat Real Madrid 1-0. Could the busy holiday season give these soccer squads a chance to shore up their hopes of reaching Champions League qualification range?
There are no La Liga games scheduled for New Year’s Day, but the festive action will resume on the second with matches between Barcelona and Espanyol, Atletico Madrid and Levante, and Celta Vigo and
Malaga. The third will see Real Madrid playing Valencia, but arguably the most notable game of week 18 is a head-to-head fixture between Villarreal and Deportivo La Coruna. For Villarreal, the game is a chance to solidify a slot in the top five; for Deportivo, it’s a chance to leap into the La Liga’s top tier. Either way, the outcome is worth following.
Which Spanish football clubs will get their holiday wishes during the busy upcoming La Liga festive period? Will Barcelona be able to re-establish their winning streak? Will Real Madrid escape their rut? Will Atletico Madrid reclaim frontrunner status after more than a year of playing second fiddle to Barca and Real? And will soccer squads like Celta Vigo, Villarreal, and Deportivo La Coruna will be able to improve their league standings even further?
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