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La Liga Fixtures 2017 Week 23: Schedule, Live-Stream Info, Picks and Key Players



Real Madrid's forward Alvaro Morata is congratulated by Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (2L) after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 29, 2017. / AFP / GERARD JULIEN        (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

GERARD JULIEN/Getty Images

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2017

Real Madrid will be expected to extend their lead at the summit of La Liga on Saturday, as they welcome RCD Espanyol to the Santiago Bernabeu in Week 23 of the season.

Los Blancos battled to a 3-1 win over bottom side Osasuna last weekend, moving a point ahead of rivals Barcelona having played a couple of games less.

The Blaugrana have the chance to bounce back from their UEFA Champions League humiliation at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, when they welcome Leganes to the Camp Nou on Sunday.

Additionally, Sevilla face an in-form Eibar side at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Saturday, and Atletico Madridafter their dramatic 3-2 win over Celta Vigo last weektravel to El Molinon to face Sporting Gijon earlier the same day.

Another absorbing weekend from the Spanish top flight is in store. Here is a look at the fixtures in full, the streaming details for the matches and some players who can make an impact for their respective sides.

La Liga 2016-17: Week 23 Schedule
Friday, February 18 7:45 p.m. Granada vs. Real Betis* 1-2
Saturday, February 19 12 p.m. Sporting vs. Atletico Madrid* 0-2
Saturday, February 19 3:15 p.m. Real Madrid vs. Espanyol 3-1
Saturday, February 19 5:30 p.m. Deportivo vs. Alaves 1-1
Saturday, February 19 7:45 p.m. Sevilla vs. Eibar* 3-1
Sunday, February 20 11 a.m. Real Sociedad vs. Villarreal* 1-1
Sunday, February 20 3:15 p.m. Valencia vs. Athletic Bilbao* 1-2
Sunday, February 20 5:30 p.m. Celta Vigo vs. Osasuna* 2-0
Sunday, February 20 7:45 p.m. Barcelona vs. Leganes* 2-0
Monday, February 21 7:45 p.m. Malaga vs. Las Palmas* 1-1
BBC Sport
La Liga 2016-17
1 Real Madrid 20 15 4 1 54 18 +36 49
2 Barcelona 22 14 6 2 61 18 +43 48
3 Sevilla 22 14 4 4 44 28 +16 46
4 Atletico Madrid 22 12 6 4 39 18 +21 42
5 Real Sociedad 22 13 2 7 36 31 +5 41
6 Villarreal 22 9 9 4 29 15 +14 36
7 Athletic Club 22 10 5 7 28 26 +2 35
8 Eibar 22 10 5 7 36 29 +7 35
9 Espanyol 22 8 8 6 30 29 +1 32
10 Celta Vigo 21 9 3 9 33 36 -3 30
11 Las Palmas 22 7 7 8 31 33 -2 28
12 Alaves 22 6 9 7 21 28 -7 27
13 Real Betis 21 6 6 9 21 31 -10 24
14 Malaga 22 5 8 9 29 36 -7 23
15 Valencia 21 5 5 11 29 40 -11 20
16 Deportivo La Coruna 21 4 7 10 26 34 -8 19
17 Leganes 22 4 6 12 15 37 -22 18
18 Sporting Gijon 22 4 4 14 24 43 -19 16
19 Granada 22 2 7 13 17 48 -31 13
20 Osasuna 22 1 7 14 24 49 -25 10
BBC Sport

Matches can be streamed via beIN Sports CONNECT (U.S.)

*Matches can be streamed via Sky Go (UK)

 

Fernando Torres, Atletico Madrid

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 12:  Fernando Torres, #9 of Atletico de Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during The La Liga match between Atletico Madrid v RC Celta de Vigo at  Vicente Calderon on February 12, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo b

Sonia Canada/Getty Images

For much of the campaign, Fernando Torres has been a bit-part player at the Vicente Calderon, deputising for Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro up top. But in recent appearances he’s proved he still has something to offer Atletico.

No more so than against Celta in a remarkable match last weekend. The veteran forward scored one of the goals of the La Liga season, flicking the ball up with his back to goal on the corner of the box and looping an overhead kick beyond Sergio Alvarez.

Per Squawka Football, the former Liverpool and Chelsea man is in a brilliant groove at the moment:

Although he went on to miss a penalty in that match, his recent levels mean manager Diego Simeone will pair Torres with Griezmann up top for the clash with Sporting. Both forwards will fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet again, too.

Only two teams have conceded more than Sporting, who find themselves in 18th position and in a battle to beat the drop.

Atletico haven’t been at their best as of late, but if Torres and Griezmann can link up, they should be too strong in this one.

 

Luka Modric, Real Madrid

Real Madrid's Croatian midfielder Luka Modric listens during a press conference at Valdebebas Sport City  in Madrid on February 14, 2017, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League football match Real Madrid CF vs SSC Napoli. / AFP / GERARD JULIEN        (Ph

GERARD JULIEN/Getty Images

Against teams who come to the Santiago Bernabeu and sit deep, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane looks to some of his playmakers to unpick the defensive masses. It’s the reason why Modric is such a key cog in this setup.

Espanyol have been cohesive and aggressive under Quique Sanchez Flores and are capable of frustrating the league leaders for long spells. Modric, as such, must ensure the tempo of the match remains quick and incisive passes are played to find space in the visitors’ defensive structure.

Per Bleacher Report UK, the Croatian’s international team-mate, Darijo Srna, has had some effusive praise for Modric recently:

It’s an assessment that is tough to argue with. Modric is unmatched in terms of technical ability, is superb at anticipating danger and capable of conjuring moments of tremendous ingenuity to assist his team.

His quality will pose a dilemma for Espanyol. Should they press Modric and push up the pitch, there will be space for Los Blancos’ other attacking stars to blossom, but if the 31-year-old is afforded time to manage the match as he pleases, he can be devastating.

 

Neymar, Barcelona

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 14:  Neymar of FC Barcelona reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona at Parc des Princes on February 14, 2017 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Ge

Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

After being hammered by PSG in midweek, Barcelona need some of their big players to seize responsibility against Leganes on Sunday.

Neymar is one of them. Although the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez cut disinterested figures during the contest, the Brazilian was at least seeking to take the game to the French champions at the Parc des Princes with some ambitious running.

Per Bleacher Report’s Karl Matchett, the winger’s work on the ball did stand out on an otherwise forgettable night for the Catalan giants:

Even so, Barcelona fans will expect more from their No. 11. The 25-year-old has only scored once in his last six matches in all competitions and six times in La Liga all season; given his quality, the Brazil international should be a lot more prolific.


Leganes are not going to come to the Camp Nou and attack, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for Neymar to get on the ball and drive at opposition defenders. Provided he shows a little more care in his decision-making, he can be crucial to Barcelona securing a critical win.



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