All 20 teams in LaLiga Santander are in action this midweek, with 10 Matchday 31 fixtures taking place across Wednesday and Thursday.
Title challengers Atlético de Madrid, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona each have fixtures against teams in the bottom half of the table – but all of which have already taken points off the title challengers this season.
The round begins at 7pm on Wednesday evening as Levante UD host Sevilla FC and CA Osasuna welcome Valencia CF to El Sadar, simultaneously. Julen Lopetegui’s Sevilla side are on a great run of form, having just earned two come-from-behind victories on the road over the past week; another three points would put them firmly in the title conversation. Osasuna vs Valencia is interesting too since both sides are comfortably in mid-table and can play with an air of freedom, something that has been in apparent in Los Che’s back-to-back 2-2 draws over the past week.
Real Betis vs Athletic Club then kicks off at 8pm later that evening. With the home team needing every point they can get as they chase European qualification and with the visitors looking to avoid another unhappy trip to Seville – the city where they just lost two cup finals – it’s clear that both teams have plenty to play for.
There are two more side-by-side fixtures that kick off in the 9pm time slot on Wednesday. D. Alavés will face Villarreal CF, a match that will see the Basque side’s new coach Javi Calleja take on his former club. Then, Elche CF meet Real Valladolid in a crucial relegation battle between the sides currently 19th and 18th respectively.
Real Madrid are then back in action at 10pm, full of motivation after dropping points away at Getafe on Sunday. They will pay a visit to Cádiz CF, who are in the bottom half of the table but who sensationally won 1-0 away at the reigning champions earlier this season. Zinedine Zidane, then, will know that this team is not to be underestimated, while another interesting dynamic to this clash is the fact that the Fernández brothers Alex and Nacho will go up against each other.
Four more fixtures are on the schedule on Thursday. The first kicks off at 7pm when league leaders Atlético de Madrid welcome SD Huesca to the Wanda Metropolitano. On paper, this match between 1st and 17th would appear to be a simple one, but Huesca have already taken points off Atleti this season, holding them to a goalless draw in Aragon.
At 9pm, it’s time for two big matches in the race for Europe. Granada CF host bottom-placed SD Eibar and have a sizable gap to overcome if they are to catch seventh-placed Real Sociedad and return to UEFA competition. La Real, meanwhile, are at home to RC Celta, so the European picture should be a lot clearer by the time those two fixtures are wrapped up.
The final game of Matchday 31 sees FC Barcelona host Getafe CF at 10pm. Barça will not be taking anything for granted, having seen how Getafe just held Real Madrid to a draw on Sunday night.
Adding more intrigue, the Catalan club lost 1-0 to José Bordalás’ side when these two teams met back in October. As such, Lionel Messi and co. will know they need to replicate the kind of performance they just put on in the Copa del Rey final as they search for three more points in what has so far been a thrilling title race.