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La Liga weekend preview: Can Voro drag Valencia out of the mire?

Six-time champions Valencia have spent just one season outside La Liga in almost a century but concerns over their top-flight status will grow if they lose at Girona on Sunday.

These are desperate times for managerless Los Che, and in stark contrast to events at high-fliers Real Madrid and Barcelona, the clubs they used to be challenging for glory not so long ago.

On another key weekend in La Liga, Real Madrid can cut Barca's lead to two points with a win at Mallorca on Sunday lunchtime before the Catalan giants take on improving Sevilla at the Nou Camp.

Career caretaker Voro needs to stop the rot at Girona

WhatGirona v Valencia
WhereEstadi Montilivi, Girona
When15:15, Sunday 5th February
How to watchbet365’s Sports Live Streaming
OddsGirona 6/5, Draw 11/5, Valencia 5/2

What looks on the face of it a mid-division scrap is anything but with Girona and Valencia both just a couple of bad results away from dropping into the relegation places. 

Girona are a point better off than Valencia – yet it's the Catalans who are 7/1 to go down, Los Che 12/1 – and with 15 points accrued at home, Michel's men should feel confident of landing 6/5 match odds. 

As for Valencia, they are in trouble. Gennaro Gattuso couldn't improve their fortunes and was fired this week which means Voro Gonzalez, the ultimate firefighter, comes in once again to douse the flames. 

It's the eighth time the ex-Mestalla favourite has taken on caretaker duties. His first game in charge was a 2-0 loss on Thursday at Real Madrid which, despite the relative narrowness of the scoreline, was an utterly one-sided affair. 

Former Arsenal centre-back Gabriel Paulista was sent off at the Bernabeu so misses out as Valencia aim to win on the road for the first time in four months. 

Leaders Barca wary of improving Sevilla

WhatBarcelona v Sevilla
WhereNou Camp, Barcelona
When20:00, Sunday 5th February
How to watchITV4 & bet365’s Sports Live Streaming
OddsBarcelona 1/3, Draw 17/4, Sevilla 15/2

Sevilla, like Valencia, are a Spanish superpower in decline but unlike Los Che, they are showing signs of recovery. 

Sevilla are still far too close to the bottom three for comfort but after winning just two of their first 15 league matches, head to the Nou Camp on a run of three wins in four. 

All three, however, were at home and all were against the trio of backmarkers, Cadiz, Getafe and Elche. 

They were thumped 3-0 at home by Barcelona in September and have to fear the worst with Xavi's men unbeaten domestically at the Nou Camp since May. 

Barcelona made it six straight wins in all competitions with a 2-1 success at Sevilla's rivals Betis on Wednesday, when Robert Lewandowski returned from a ban with a goal. 

The Pole has a league-leading 14 goals and is 4/5 to score at any time on Sunday night. 

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Real aware Mallorca are no pushovers

WhatMallorca v Real Madrid
WhereSon Moix, Palma
When13:00, Sunday 5th February
How to watchbet365’s Sports Live Streaming
OddsMallorca 4/1, Draw 5/2, Real Madrid 8/11

Real Madrid play before Barcelona on Sunday so get the chance to cut their deficit to two points by winning at Mallorca. 

However, they will definitely be without their best defender this season Eder Militao and top scorer Karim Benzema could also miss out. 

Both picked up knocks in Thursday's 2-0 win over Valencia. Carlo Ancelotti may make one or two other changes ahead of Tuesday's World Club Cup semi-final in Morocco. 

You'd expect Real to make light work of Mallorca – they've won the last four showdowns against the boys from the Balearics by a 15-2 aggregate scoreline. 

But Mallorca have won their last three home league games, including against Atletico, by 1-0 scorelines – a fourth straight 1-0 win is a 10/1 shot – and their last eight home league games have produced a grand total of just nine goals. 

That explains why under 2.5 goals is a 4/6 chance. 

Villarreal can bounce back from Rayo setback at hopeless Elche

WhatElche v Villarreal
WhereEstadio Martinez Valero, Elche
When15:15, Saturday 4th February
How to watchbet365’s Sports Live Streaming
OddsElche 4/1, Draw 14/5, Villarreal 4/6

Villarreal may be on the road on Saturday but they are likely to be many people's bankers at bottom side Elche. 

Elche are the only side in La Liga who have yet to win a game this season and when they visited Villarreal in September they were crushed 4-0. 

Villarreal suffered a disappointing 1-0 home loss to Rayo Vallecano last time out, though Rayo are on a different level to poor Elche right now.

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