This weekend’s games should also help clarify the situation towards the bottom as the winter break approaches.

In the Gameweek 16, LaLiga co-leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid headline another round of intriguing fixtures including Valencia city derby and relegation six pointer at Butarque.

Third-placed Sevilla remain right in a historically tight title race with Basque side Athletic Club and Real Sociedad also showing championship form through recent weeks, while this weekend’s games should also help clarify the situation towards the bottom as we move towards the winter break.

The action begins with Villarreal hosting Atletico de Madrid and both teams looking for a lift after disappointing defeats last weekend. This has traditionally been a tricky fixture for Diego Simeone’s men, with two draws and two Villarreal wins over the last four seasons.

Saturday’s action begins as Real Madrid host RCD Espanyol with the two teams currently in very contrasting form. Los Blancos’ current LaLiga topscorer Karim Benzema has six goals in his last six games against Los Periquitos, including a superbly taken double last January.

Granada’s form has faded recently after their fine start and they now sit 10th, with equal number of wins as defeats [six] and goals scored and conceded [20]. Saturday’s visitors to Los Carmenes are D. Alaves, whose strike pair Lucas Perez and Joselu are both in excellent form.

Saturday’s city derby between Levante and Valencia should be a cracker, with the teams currently separated by just three points and three places in the LaLiga table. Los Granotas are strong at home with four wins and just one loss in seven outings, while Los Che are formidable on the road, so a match in the spirit of last season’s entertaining 2-2 draw looks a distinct possibility.

Newly crowned Ballon d’Or 2019 winner Lionel Messi will lead Barcelona out at the Camp Nou against RCD Mallorca, having either scored or assisted 10 of his team’s last 13 LaLiga goals. The Balearic Islanders have yet to pick up a point away in 2019/20 but did pick up a creditable 1-1 in this fixture in 2010 when Messi also scored.

Gameweek 16 of LaLiga features Eibar team looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone after three straight defeats hosting a Getafe side dreaming of Champions League qualification after 11 points from their last five games.

In even better form are Athletic Club who have taken 13 from the last 15 points available to climb to fourth in LaLiga, ahead of their trip to Real Betis where Los Verdiblancos have been specialising in grabbing late winners in recent weeks.

Real Valladolid have slipped downwards while not scoring across their last three LaLiga fixtures, and now host Real Sociedad who have found the net in all but one of their 15 games so far. History suggests the points might be shared however following four consecutive draws in this fixture.

Leganes at home to RC Celta is a huge game at the bottom of the table. Both teams have improved recently under new coaches Javier Aguirre (Leganes) and Oscar Garcia (Celta), but still remain in the drop zone with just one win each across their last six LaLiga outings.

The final game sees Osasuna back at El Sadar where their historic 31 game unbeaten run ended a fortnight ago, with the visitors being a Sevilla team who remain right in the title race having a LaLiga-high 16 points already away from home this season.