Real Madrid’s unbeaten run currently sees them occupying a spot ahead of Barcelona on the table, but only on goal difference, as we move into match week 10 of the Spanish League.
Real Madrid and Barcelona have scored 21 and 20 goals respectively this campaign but Real have only conceded 3 goals as opposed to Barcelona’s 12 from the 9 games that have been played so far this season.
Match week nine saw Real move up to first on the table after picking up a big 3-1 win over Celta Vigo last weekend and they had one of their unsung heroes to thank for that result.
Keylor Navas stood tall in goal for Los Blancos as he made a string of saves to frustrate Celta’s attackers and help Real to three points.
To his credit, Navas has put aside his disappointment at his treatment by his club on transfer deadline day.
Real Madrid had sought to bring in Manchester United’s David De Gea with Navas heading the other way but both deals fell through and the Costa Rican has been in fantastic form for Los Blancos since then with only 3 goals conceded in 12 games in all competitions.
He has now been offered a new contract by the club and, when he signs it, it will certainly move him off the bottom of the pay scale.
Navas will probably have an easier time against this weekend’s opponents, Las Palmas, than he did against Celta.
The club from Gran Canaria was promoted from the second division via a playoff but they have struggled this season and occupy 18th on the table with only six goals scored.
Las Palmas did secure a 0-0 draw at home to Villarreal last weekend but the feeling is that Real Madrid will have too much quality in attack, especially with the possible return of Karim Benzema, when they meet at the Bernabeu.
Los Blancos should therefore be able to stretch their unbeaten streak to 10 games by the end of that clash.
Barcelona will also be in Madrid this weekend as they travel to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez to take on Getafe. It could be a tricky tie for the Catalans as Getafe have an impressive home record this season with three wins from four matches at the Coliseum.
Getafe will also be looking to put up more of a fight in front of their home support after they were thrashed 5-0 by Sevilla last weekend at the Sanchez Pizjuan.
Barcelona, meanwhile, had to come from behind to secure a 3-1 win over Eibar at the Camp Nou with a Luis Suarez hat trick ensuring that they would not suffer their third league defeat this season.
The Catalans have had a lot to deal with both on and off the pitch in recent weeks. Aside from having to cope with the losses of key players through injury, Barcelona have also had to pay off a 40,000 fine imposed by UEFA after their fans flew Catalan Estelada flags during last month’s Champions League game at home to Bayer Leverkusen.
The flags are flown in support of Catalan independence and were seen as political symbols by UEFA.
The issue of Catalonia’s independence from Spain could also see Barcelona’s removal from the Spanish League.
They could instead be playing in the French Ligue 1 after French Prime Minister, Miguel Valls, spoke about offering them a place should they be forced to leave La Liga.
For now though, Barcelona’s immediate concern will be securing maximum points against Getafe in order to keep pace with Real Madrid.
Rhysh Roshan Rai is a former professional footballer turned analyst/commentator, presently working with Fox Sports Asia and occasionally on Astro’s coverage of Malaysian football. An AFC licensed coach, he can be contacted at email@example.com or on twitter @RhyshRai.
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