Madrid (Spain), Jan 12 (SocialNews.XYZ) There is a reduced series of fixtures in La Liga this weekend, with eight matches to be played and neither FC Barcelona nor Real Madrid in action due to their commitments in the Spanish Super Cup held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Real Madrid's match against Valencia and Barca's game against Betis in the league will be rescheduled for a later date, but there is still some important action in Spain.
More attention will be given to the Basque derby between Real Sociedad and Athletic Club Bilbao in San Sebastian.
The two sides will battle it out for more than just local bragging rights, as both are looking to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League. A win for Real Sociedad will move them to within three points of Real Madrid and six of Barca and strengthen their case to be seen as the outsiders in this year's title race.
The 17th round of games kicks off on Friday night with Celta Vigo, who claimed an important win in Elche last weekend at home to Villarreal.
Villarreal have finally adapted to Quique Setien's passing style of football and travel to Vigo after beating Real Madrid last weekend and winning their last five games in all competitions.
The doubt for Setien's team is striker Arnaut Danjuma, who has been strongly linked to a move to the Premier League.
A run of three defeats has blunted Valladolid's season, but they have the chance to get back to winning ways with a home game against Rayo Vallecano. Rayo lost at home to Betis last weekend, but the good news for coach Andoni Iraola was that Raul de Tomas was finally able to get into action after returning to the club from Espanyol in the summer and should give more edge to Rayo's attack.
Sevilla's win at home to Getafe, just their third of the season, pulled them out of the bottom three last weekend, and Jorge Sampaoli's side can capitalise on that win if they can take something from their visit to Girona, who scored a late equaliser to take a point from Espanyol a week ago.
Osasuna's rugged defensive display earned them a point in Bilbao last Monday, but coach Jagoba Arrasate needs to see more in attack from Kike Garcia and Ante Budimir if they are to take three points from their home match against Mallorca.
There will be a sense of urgency when Getafe entertain Espanyol on Sunday afternoon. Getafe's loss to Sevilla means that Quique Sanchez Flores' men are just two points above the relegation zone, while Girona's late equalizer last week leaves Espanyol second from bottom in the table with just two wins in the campaign, reports Xinhua.
Striker Joselu, who has scored nine of Espanyol's 19 league goals this campaign, is once again the main hope for Diego Martinez's men.
Atletico Madrid are without striker Joao Felix, who completed a loan move to Chelsea for the rest of the season, for the trip to the southeast to play Almeria. Central defender Stefan Savic serves the first of a two-game ban after his fight with Barcelona's Ferran Torres and will be an important loss for the Atletico defense.
The round of matches ends on Monday with third-from-bottom Cadiz at home to bottom-side Elche. Elche are still searching for their first win of the season, while Cadiz's win away to Valencia last weekend means three points will almost certainly lift them out of the relegation zone.