MADRID, Spain, Dec 29 – The final LaLiga Santander matchday of 2020 will be headlined by the Basque Derby between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad landing on New Year’s Eve to ensure the year ends in style.
Before that, Matchday 16 gets under way on Tuesday with a Sevilla FC vs Villarreal CF duel that could have a major impact on determining which side finishes inside the top four this year.
Julen Lopetegui’s team finished fourth last campaign to qualify for the Champions League, but now Villarreal CF are hoping their own Basque coach Unai Emery can take them back into Europe’s premier competition.
As things stand, they occupy fourth spot and they’ll look to defend that when they visit the Estadio Sánchez Pizjuán.
Currently, FC Barcelona are outside of the top four and they’ll be looking to change that when they take on SD Eibar on Tuesday.
Goals should be expected as Barça have scored 41 times across their previous 12 LaLiga Santander meetings with SD Eibar, for 11 wins and one draw. Barça’s recent home form has been good and they’ll be seeking one final Camp Nou victory to see out the year.
At the 11:30pm EAT time slot on Tuesday night, there are two matches at the same time.
One of them sees Levante UD meet Real Betis and that should be a lot of fun if last season’s meetings are anything to go by, as there was a 3-1 Real Betis win and a 4-2 Levante UD victory as these teams squared off in 2019/20.
The other late match is Cádiz CF vs Real Valladolid and this should be an intriguing chess match between two teams with similar tactical styles and two teams whose main objective this year is to avoid relegation.
The action continues on Wednesday as Granada CF host Valencia CF, a match that’ll see current Nazarí striker Roberto Soldado go up against the club where he enjoyed the greatest successes of his career.
At 9:15pm EAT, there are two fixtures and one of them is a capital city derby as Getafe CF make the short trip to take on Atlético Madrid at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
This is one of Diego Simeone’s favourite fixtures as he boasts an incredible record against Getafe CF as a coach. Since taking over at Atleti in 2011, the Argentine has faced Getafe CF 17 times and he has won 15 of these meetings as well as drawing two.
The most incredible stat, though, is that Atlético Madrid have conceded zero goals across this run. Not a single one. They’ll be looking to keep that up on Wednesday.
At the same time as that capital city fixture, Celta Vigo play SD Huesca at home and this could really be an end-to-end game of football given the attacking tendencies of the coaches Eduardo Coudet and Míchel.
As the bottom-placed side heading in to Matchday 16, SD Huesca really need the three points.
To round off Wednesday’s slate of action, Elche CF welcome Real Madrid to the Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero.
Real Madrid are currently in excellent form as they’ve won six in a row, while Elche CF are on an eight-match LaLiga Santander winless run after starting the season so well.
Yet the home side’s coach Jorge Almirón has been known to cause big teams problems with his unique set of tactics. The Argentine will have had a full week to try to conjure up a master plan to halt Los Blancos’ momentum.
On the final day of the year, there are two afternoon fixtures for LaLiga Santander fans to enjoy. At 4pm EAT, there is a huge Basque derby at San Mamés as Athletic Club take on Real Sociedad.
These two teams are the 2019/20 Copa del Rey finalists and they were due to meet all the way back in April, only for the coronavirus pandemic to see that showpiece fixture postponed.
They’ve not met, therefore, since February, making this one of the most highly anticipated Basque Derbies in years. They won one derby each last season. On New Year’s Eve, they’ll go head to head again.
There’s then still one final match to be played in Matchday 16, with CA Osasuna vs Deportivo Alavés the final game of 2020.
That 7:15pm EAT kick-off is a regional derby between two clubs based just 80 kilometres apart and it’s a duel between two sides involved in the relegation battle. It promises to be an entertaining tussle and an excellent match to bring the Spanish football calendar year to a close.