LaLiga Matchday 23 Preview: Madrid Derby Takes Centre Stage; Barca in Stern Bilbao Test

Victor Kekereekun
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In the outright biggest game in the Spanish League this weekend, Atletico Madrid welcome bitter rivals Real Madrid to the Wanda Metropolitan Stadium in Madrid Derby. Diego Simeone’s team are just two points clear of Real and if either side wishes to remain in the title race, securing all points will be the only thing they will be thinking about.

Meanwhile, table toppers Barcelona, who are undefeated in their last ten LaLiga games head to San Memes on Sunday evening to take on Atletic Bilbao in a somewhat stern test – particularly with Barcelona captain possibly missing out in this tie. Here is APRECON’s build-up to Matchday 23 LaLiga Santander action;

Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid

Date: Saturday, 9th February
Kick-off: 16:15 pm CET
Stadium: Wanda Metropolitano
Last League meeting: September 2018: Real Madrid 0-0 Atletico Madrid

The big games are coming thick and fast for Real Madrid right now and they travel to city rivals Atletico Madrid this Saturday, just three days on from the clasico.

No matter where these two are in the league standings, this is always a huge game for obvious reasons, but there is no doubt that it has extra significance due to the league positions of these two clubs.

Los Blancos have had a good few weeks overall with players returning to form and 4 straight league victories heading into the clasico.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid’s early cup exit has at least given them a week to prepare for this but they come into the match on a bit of a downer after they lost at Real Betis last weekend – their only second league defeat of the season. They are 6 points behind Barcelona but they really need all the points here if they are to sustain a realistic title challenge.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico are currently in second with 44 points, while Santiago Solari’s Real Madrid are behind them in 3rd with 42 points. A draw keeps that gap the same, a win for Atletico extends it to five points, while a win for Real would put them above Atletico by a point. With that in mind, we can expect a fiery encounter between these two rivals, with so much on the line.

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Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona

Date: Sunday, 10th February
Kick-off: 20:45 pm CET
Stadium: San Mames
Last League meeting: September 18: Barcelona 1-1 Bilbao

Barcelona head away this weekend to face Athletic Bilbao. They are undefeated in their last ten games, which has given them a six point gap at the top of La Liga, although they do come here on the back of a draw last weekend against Valencia. Barca will want to bounce back to winning ways here.

Athletic Bilbao, meanwhile, were five games undefeated until last weekend, when they were beaten by Real Sociedad. They have shown a good level of form which has enabled them to climb the table up into 12th position. There are reasons to think they could take points off Barcelona here – especially with Barcelona captain Lionel Messi possibly missing the game due to fitness issue.

The bottom line is, Athletic Bilbao will provide a genuine test on home ground but a strong showing from league leaders Barcelona will never be out of sight. It is a game to watch!


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