Will Barcelona and Real Madrid maintain their perfect starts?

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The international break seems like a distant memory as we’re just one day away from the return of La Liga. And Friday night sees Real Sociedad play host to Espanyol, with the away side still looking for their first win of the season.

But what can we expect from week three? Ladbrokes News takes a look at four main points in preparation for the weekend ahead.

Real and Barca could run riot

If there was ever a perfect weekend to back both Real Madrid and Barcelona to score over 4.5 goals, then this would probably be it.

It’s Zinedine Zidane’s men who are up first, and the return of Cristiano Ronaldo all but confirms a rugby scoreline as far as we’re concerned. They welcome a newly promoted Osasuna side to the Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon, and they’re due a high-scoring win. Madrid haven’t lost in their last eight meetings with Osasuna, including scorelines like 4-0, 4-2, 5-1 and 7-1 since 2011.

Barcelona feature in the evening kick-off on Saturday against another newly promoted side in Alaves, and they’ll undoubtedly want to at least equal whatever scoreline their title rivals can achieve earlier in the afternoon.

Barca have found the net three times in each of their last three games against Saturday’s opponents, winning six of their last eight meetings with Alaves.

Atletico already playing catch-up

Diego Simeone’s Atletico side are yet to grab their first win of the season, although their fans would have expected maximum points from their opening two fixtures against newly-promoted Alaves and Leganes.

And it doesn’t get any easier for Madrid on Saturday, as they face last season’s standout performers Celta Vigo. The Sky Blues are also looking for their first win this term although last time these sides met in Balaidos it was Antoine Griezmann and co that came out on top, winning 2-0.

It’s crazy to think that this is such a massive fixture so early in the season. Lose this and Atletico could end up seven points behind Barcelona and their city rivals Real Madrid, however a win in the early kick off would put them just a point behind the two title challengers.

New boys Leganes’ clean sheet record could continue

Without a shadow of a doubt, Leganes have been the surprise package of La Liga so far. Granted, we’re only two games in, but they’ve already picked up four impressive points against Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid, without conceding a single goal.

And that defence may have another quiet weekend ahead as they face one of the lowest scoring sides in La Liga last campaign in Sporting Gijon.

Their record against Gijon isn’t the best, however, winning just one of the last 14 meetings against Sunday’s opponents.

But as they’ve already proved this season, they love their underdog title, and at 12/5 there could be value in backing the boys in blue and white.

High scoring Las Palmas face toughest challenge yet

No team enjoys a trip to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, home of Sevilla, but when you’ve scored nine goals in your opening two league games, you’ll fancy your chances against anyone.

That’s the position Las Palmas find themselves in, but perhaps the more important position is where they’re currently sitting in the table.

For those of you wondering, that would be ahead of both Barcelona and Real Madrid on goal difference.

But Quique Setien’s men face a Sevilla side who’ve only lost five games in the last two seasons at home.

Throw into the mix the fact that Las Palmas lost 2-0 in this fixture last year and this could be the weekend that separates the men from the boys at the top of the table.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Apati

Having graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Creative Writing with English, Alex joined the News team following a three year stint working for Ladbrokes behind the counter. When he's not watching darts, he's throwing them. Failing that you'll find him YouTubeing Thierry Henry's greatest Arsenal goals.