The first midweek round of the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander takes place this week, with some crunch fixtures on the schedule as September turns to October. There are 18 teams in action this Matchday Four, which begins on Tuesday, September 29th, and which ends on Thursday, October 1st.
The first match of the round is a classic of Spanish football: Real Sociedad hosting Valencia CF. This will be the 139th time these sides meet in Spain’s top tier and Valencia will be seeking revenge after losing 3-0 when they visited the Reale Arena last term. It’ll be a tough ask, though. Los Che have several injury concerns and are going up against one of the most impressive sides of the 2019/20 season, a side that strengthened in the summer by signing former Valencia playmaker David Silva.
That match between those two classic LaLiga Santander teams takes place on Tuesday evening, beforeGetafe CF and Real Betis do battle in the second of the two Tuesday night fixtures. It’s a fixture between two teams with two of the most impressive coaches in the division. Getafe boss José Bordalás has made a name for himself over the past few seasons after leading the Azulones into the Europa League knockouts and will be taking on the veteran Manuel Pellegrini, who has made a strong start after returning to LaLiga Santander this year to take over at Real Betis.
Wednesday night brings four fixtures to the table, with SD Huesca matching up with Atlético de Madrid and Villarreal CF facing Alavés at 19:00 CEST. All eyes will be on Luis Suárez when Atleti make the trip to the LaLiga SmartBank champions, especially after the capital city side’s star summer signing scored two and assisted one as his new club thrashed Granada CF 6-1 this past weekend. Villarreal CF vs Alavés, meanwhile, is a battle of two new coaches, with Unai Emery and Pablo Machín still trying to work out the best schemes and systems at their new clubs.
Later that night, SD Eibar host Elche CF in a match-up that has more history than you might expect. In 2014/15, SD Eibar finished in the relegation spots but were handed a reprieve as Elche were administratively demoted. Now, Elche have completely turned their finances around and are on the up, led by general director Patricia Rodríguez – who, incidentally, used to hold the same position at Eibar. Elche lost their first match back in the top tier against Real Sociedad 3-0 and will now be hoping for a better result against another team from the Basque Country.
Real Madrid, the reigning champions, are also in action on Wednesday night hosting Real Valladolidat the Alfredo Di Stefano. They’ve not lost to Valladolid since 2008, but the side from Spain’s central Castilla y Leon region did cause Zinedine Zidane and co. problems last season. Real Madrid’s first home match of the 2019/20 season was also against Real Valladolid, who held them to a 1-1 draw. This week’s encounter promises to be an intriguing matchup, especially considering some of the exciting signings made by Real Valladolid in the summer, among them Austrian Bundesliga top scorer Shon Weissman.
On Thursday, three more fixtures take place. Athletic Club host Cádiz CF in one of the earlier fixtures, with the Basque side welcoming the newly promoted outfit to San Mamés for a match that’ll be packed with colour and passion. Sevilla FC, meanwhile, are back in action on Thursday, taking on Levante UD. When these two teams met towards the end of last season, Levante ended a four-match losing run against the Andalusians with a dramatic late equaliser. More drama is to be expected when these two attack-minded clubs clash once again.
Finally, the last match of Matchday Four sees FC Barcelona travel to RC Celta, a second match in charge for new Barça coach Ronald Koeman after they hit four past Villarreal this weekend. It promises to be a difficult one since the Catalan club have often struggled when they’ve travelled to Vigo; Barça haven’t won at Abanca Balaídos since 2015, losing three times and drawing three times since then.
That’ll be a perfect way to cap off Matchday Four, a round that also includes the Granada CF vs CA Osasuna match that will be played at a later date due to the former’s Europe League commitments. They’ll be taking on Swedish side Malmö in search of a place in the continental competition’s group stages