LaLiga Santander returns this weekend with Matchday 4 of the 2021/22 season. There are eight fixtures taking place over those three days – from Saturday to Monday -, while two of the round’s matches have been postponed to a later date (Sevilla FC vs FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF vs D Alaves), and there are several storylines to look out for. From Real Madrid’s return to the Bernabéu after a 560-day absence to the debuts of several summer signings, this promises to be a thrilling weekend of Spanish football.
The first fixture is a Saturday evening meeting of two teams who score and concede a lot of goals, with UD Levante hosting Rayo Vallecano. So far this season, UD Levante’s matches have produced 3.0 goals per game on average and the capital city side’s games have produced 2.67. That places both these teams’ matches in the top third for total goals, so there could be fireworks in the city that just celebrated the famous Falles Festival.
Later on Saturday night comes a showdown between two of the youngest squads of LaLiga Santander, as Athletic Club take on RCD Mallorca. Both sides have several rising stars who’ll be on show, such as Jon Morcillo, Dani Vivian and Oihan Sancet in the home team and Takefusa Kubo, Kang-in Lee and Fer Niño for the visitors.
After the two matches on Saturday, there are four more games on Sunday, starting with RCD Espanyol vs Atlético Madrid at 1pm. Antoine Griezmann could make his re-debut in this away trip, after re-joining Los Rojiblancos on deadline day. Having already scored 131 goals in 257 appearances for Atleti, the Frenchman will be looking to add to that in his first match back, as he takes on RCD Espanyol in Barcelona, the city he has called home for the past two years.
Later on Sunday afternoon, CA Osasuna welcome Valencia CF to El Sadar for a battle between two sides who have started the new season undefeated. In Pamplona, there is great excitement at the attacking resources CA Osasuna have put together for this season, with Chimy Ávila, Ante Budimir, Kike García and Rubén García all available to coach Jagoba Arrasate. At Valencia CF, they’ve started the season well too and summer signing Marcos André could earn his first start, while Carlos Soler will hope to keep up his good form after starting the season in scintillating form for both Los Che and the Spanish national team.
Next, Real Sociedad make the trip to the other side of the Iberian Peninsula to take on Cádiz CF. In this match, we might see the birth of La Real’s new Scandinavian strike partnership, as Swede Alexander Isak and Norwegian Alexander Sørloth return from international duty to lead the Basque side’s attack.
At 8pm on Sunday night, there will be an emotional return to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu for Real Madrid. With the pandemic and with redevelopment work having taken place over the past year and a half, Los Blancos haven’t played there since 1st March 2020. They’ll take on RC Celta in front of a limited number of fans and, even if there is a lot of focus on the setting, the match promises to be a fun one too, as the past 10 meetings between these teams have produced an average of 4.1 goals per match.
Monday brings two more LaLiga Santander matches, starting with Getafe CF vs Elche CF. These are two teams who only just avoided relegation last season and two teams who made some late summer signings. In this fixture, they’ll hope the new arrivals can make an immediate impression, such as Jorge Cuenca and Jonathan Silva for Getafe CF and Javier Pastore and Lucas Pérez for the visitors.
An Andalusian derby then concludes the weekend’s action, as Granada CF host Real Betis on Monday night at 9pm. Real Betis won their last meeting 2-1, but the Nazaríes had gone undefeated over the previous five clashes. There’s always a special atmosphere when there’s a regional derby, making this a great way to cap this weekend’s slate of fixtures.