Savage gives us his thoughts on the pick of the matches in Spain’s Primera División and as the top sides meet for the first time.
Cádiz (20) v Barcelona (2)
Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla, Sat 10 Sep 17:30 (Ireland/UK), 18:30 (Spain)
These two sides could scarcely be more different in terms of form heading into this one on the southwest coast. The home side sit rock bottom on the table with 0 points from 4 games. Equally concerning for Sergio González is the 0 goals in the scored column. What will provide little solace to him is the arrival of the league’s joint top scorer. Lewandowski has already netted 5 including 2 braces in the space of 4 games with the Blaugrana. His midweek showing against Viktoria Plzen resulted in him registering another hattrick to his collection. The visitors have a slickness to their attacking play that was absent for large part of last season. The new, abeit expensive, signings appear to have gelled quickly and should provide no end of strife for Los Piratas. Lewandowski to net another brace looks over priced.
Atlético Madrid (7) v Celta Vigo (8)
Wanda Metropolitano, Sat 10 Sep 20:00 (Ireland/UK), 21:00 (Spain)
It is hard to know what to make of this Atleti side so far this season. It has been a fairly mixed bag of results domestically (W2 D1 L1) and during the week they required 101st minute winner from super-sub Griezmann to claim the 3 points. Their only convincing victory came in the opening weekend against Getafe who are currently in 19th place and winless (D1 L3). Despite having the same record as their hosts, Celta are playing much more attractive football and have scored more and have scored more (6) and conceded less (1) than their much vaunted opponents. Their main man Iago Aspas has once more shot to the top of the scoring charts and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him add another Zarra trophy his list of accolades.
Real Madrid (1) v Mallorca (11)
Santiago Bernabéu, Sun 11 Sep 13:00 (Ireland/UK), 14:00 (Spain)
Real Madrid under Carlo Ancelotti have developed an incredible ability to not always play at their best but to come away with a result deserving of their status if not their performance. Los Blancos have a 100% record in their 5 games this season and no side has made Courtois pick the out of his own net more than once. Their visitors have endured a rocky start to the campaign (W1 D2 L1) but still find themselves nestled in the safety of midtable. The Islanders have not claimed a point away to Madrid in 6 attempts dating back as far as 2010. Benzema is a doubt with injury but Real should still have plenty in reserve to dispatch their opponents. Valverde has enjoyed an excellent start to season and should enjoy some freedom against the Mallorca fullbacks.