ANALYSIS: Four things to look out for in Spain’s Matchday 2

ANALYSIS: Four things to look out for in Spain’s Matchday 2

MADRID, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) —

More hot weather greets the second round of matches in La Liga this weekend as the teams in Spain look to hit their best form. Here are some things to look out for this weekend.

1. Debut for Kepa?

Real Madrid signed goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on loan from Chelsea this week to cover for the injured Thibaut Courtois. Coach Carlo Ancelotti now faces a decision: start Kepa for Saturday’s visit to Almeria or continue with Andriy Lunin.

The Ukraine international showed stability against Athletic Bilbao last Saturday, but with minimal challenges. Ancelotti might lean towards Lunin as Kepa settles in.

However, if Kepa is slated as the first choice, which seems likely given Madrid’s acquisition motives, it’d make sense for him to start against a struggling Almeria.

2. Barca need to find themselves against Cadiz

Barcelona encountered frustration in their 0-0 stalemate with Getafe last Sunday, a game where Getafe’s tactics kept Barca off balance.

Raphinha’s temper flared, resulting in a red card for elbowing, while Xavi Hernandez was also sent off, sidelining him for two games.

Cadiz will face Barcelona on Sunday at the Montjuic Olympic Stadium, as Camp Nou undergoes renovations.

It will be intriguing to see how both Barca’s squad and fans acclimate to the new setting.

With Raphinha out, Xavi must choose his replacement, especially with rumors swirling about Ansu Fati’s departure. Gavi, overlooked last weekend, might earn a starting spot.

3. All eyes on Getafe

Getafe’s defensive tactics against Barcelona granted them a point, but they drew criticism for their overtly cynical playstyle.

The extended 115-minute match duration last weekend suggests that simply adding extra time isn’t a solution for timewasting.

The referee overseeing Getafe’s game against Girona will likely be under scrutiny, tasked with maintaining game flow. This could lead to more yellow cards being shown.

4. Osasuna and Athletic renew rivalry
Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao, relatively close neighbors, are set to meet on Saturday.

Their four encounters last season tilted in Osasuna’s favor with two wins at home in league and cup matches, and two draws in Bilbao.

Osasuna, having outperformed Athletic last season, are the anticipated favorites. Athletic’s pre-season disruptions, mainly injuries, showed in their performance against Real Madrid.

Coach Ernesto Valverde remains hopeful that another training week will elevate players like Nico Williams and Oihan Sancet. Still, with key defenders Yeray Alvarez and Yuri sidelined, Osasuna could capitalize.


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