The first LALIGA EA SPORTS matchday of 2024 is a special one, as Matchday 19 marks the midway point of the season and it takes place in midweek, which always creates a unique atmosphere. Here is a Preview from www.aclsports.com in conjunction with LaLiga Africa.
There are several high-profile fixtures coming up, ones we’ve had to hold off until Matchday 19 for but which are sure to be worth the wait.
Tuesday January 2nd is the first day of LALIGA EA SPORTS football in 2024 and all three of the games taking place that evening are regional rivalries. The very first fixture of the new year is a Madrid derby clash between Getafe CF and Rayo Vallecano.
For Los Azulones, they come in to the new year full of confidence after finishing 2023 with a spectacular draw away at Atlético de Madrid at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano. It’s at this same stadium that this fixture against Rayo Vallecano will be taking place, so Getafe CF will hope to keep their positive run going.
Next up is a Basque derby between Real Sociedad and Deportivo Alavés at the Reale Arena. Both teams enjoyed a special 2023 as they achieved their respective objectives, and they’ll now hope to begin 2024 on the front foot.
The action then moves to the Valencian Community for Valencia CF vs Villarreal CF, a game which will see all eyes turn to Marcelino, the recently appointed Villarreal CF coach who brought a lot of success to Mestalla during his time in charge of Valencia CF, not least by winning a Copa del Rey. He can expect a warm reception when he returns to his former club, but then both teams will fully focus on trying to secure the three points.
Four fixtures follow on the Wednesday of this LALIGA EA SPORTS Matchday 19 round and there is yet another derby, as Granada CF and Cádiz CF meet in the first game of the day. With both these Andalusian sides entering 2024 inside the bottom four, this is a huge six-pointer.
Two games will take place simultaneously at 19:15 CET on the Wednesday, namely RC Celta vs Real Betis and Real Madrid vs RCD Mallorca. Both home sides have a lot to play for, although for very different reasons given that RC Celta step into the new year inside the relegation zone while Real Madrid currently top the standings. In the case of Carlo Ancelotti’s side, they’ll want to put pressure on Girona FC, who are level on points with the 35-time champions of Spain.
Then, at 21:30 CET on Wednesday night, Girona FC have a very difficult test as they host Atlético de Madrid at the Estadi Montilivi. This is a duel between two of the teams who are very much in the title race and two of the squads who have produced the most attractive football so far this season. Looking at the head-to-head records from these two clubs’ previous meetings, there have only been eight previous duels but it’s interesting to note that the first five were draws before Atleti won the past three. This is the best Girona FC side ever, though, so their fans will hope to finally secure their first win over Los Colchoneros.
Thursday throws up three more games in the LALIGA EA SPORTS Matchday 19, starting with CA Osasuna vs UD Almería. The latter still haven’t won a game yet this league season and will want to avoid going a full half of a season without winning once.
Sevilla FC vs Athletic Club follows and this is a big game between two historic clubs. Athletic Club are enjoying an excellent season and currently sit fifth, but Los Nervionenses have improved since Quique Sánchez Flores took over as coach and this will be his first home game in the role. There is optimism once again at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.
The final game of the round is UD Las Palmas vs FC Barcelona and this should be a very interesting duel in a tactical sense, as well as the fact that this is the first meeting between these clubs since 2018. With the Canary Islanders coached by García Pimienta, the former coach of FC Barcelona’s B team, these are two teams who each love to dominate the ball and it’s no surprise to see that they are the top two sides for possession stats in the competition. But, there will only be one ball to fight for when the first whistle sounds on Thursday evening, making for an entertaining way to conclude the first half of the season.
Watch LALIGA EA SPORTS Matchday 19 live this midweek on SuperSport.