The title took a massive swing in Barcelona’s direction as Real Madrid were sensationally held to a 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu by Valencia. They went 2-0 down and managed to bring it back level despite Cristiano Ronaldo missing a penalty. The odds were always against them with Barcelona winning earlier in the day against Real Sociedad but now they’re 4 points behind with 2 games to go. Proceedings in the relegation zone are also heating up as from 16th to 19th they’re separated by just 1 point.
Espanyol v Real Madrid
Carlo Ancelotti will be a nervous man for the foreseeable future as Real Madrid were knocked out of the semi-finals of the Champions League which was a competition believed to be his only bargaining chip left.
After exiting 3-2 on aggregate to his former employers, Juventus, Ancelotti has lost his best chance at winning silverware this season as their recent slip to Valencia has dropped them 4 points behind Barcelona with just 2 games remaining.
Espanyol meanwhile have maintained a respectable campaign and can finish as high as 7th with favourable results. Madrid have won the last 5 games in a row against Espanyol.
Ancelotti himself will be missing for Madrid as he was handed a two-match suspension by the Spanish Football Federation for his actions at the end of the Valencia match. He sarcastically applauded the referee and one of his officials after the game and has been punished by missing the remaining two fixtures.
Luka Modric is the only absent player for Ancelotti regarding team selection as Toni Kroos came through the Juventus game despite rumours he would miss it through a hamstring injury. Jose Canas will be back for the hosts after serving a one-match suspension.
Atletico Madrid v Barcelona
The pressure isn’t quite as high as it would’ve been had Madrid picked up 3 points against Valencia on Saturday evening so Barcelona can travel to the Vicente Calderon to lose and still be ahead of Madrid.
Atletico are unbeaten in 13 La Liga matches but have suffered back-to-back draws against Levante and Athletic Bilbao. Luis Enrique’s side meanwhile are on a superb run and despite suffering a 3-2 defeat to Bayern Munich midweek, they still progressed 5-3 on aggregate to cement their place in the Champions League final on 6 June and maintains their challenge to win the treble.
Jeremy Mathieu returned from the substitute’s bench against Bayern Munich and could regain his place next to Gerard Pique at the heart of the Barcelona defence at the expense of Javier Mascherano. Other than that single change, Luis Enrique is likely to field 10 other unchanged players.
Diego Simeone is believed to be losing patience with Mario Mandzukic who hasn’t stepped into Diego Costa’s boots at all since arriving at the club. Fernando Torres came on to replace the Croat and scored an equalizer against Levante and could be rewarded with a start. Diego Godin will also return from suspension to play in central defence.
Deportivo v Levante
For Deportivo it is a sense of last chance saloon as their final game of the season is Barcelona and you don’t particularly fancy them to upset the odds in Barcelona’s final game at the Nou Camp.
Deportivo currently sit 1 place above the relegation zone and will be desperate to gain 3 points against a Levante side who will be casting one eye on the sides below them as they sit just 5 points above Deportivo and if some of the sides down the bottom can win over the weekend, they’ll face a very nervous final game.
Unfortunately for Deportivo, they’re winless in 14 league matches but Levante have lost 8 of their last 10 away league games.
Cezary Wilk and Juan Dominguez are midfielders out of contention for Deportivo and the side may be unchanged from the one that gained a creditable point against Athletic Bilbao last time out which took them out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
Levante had a superb draw against current La Liga champions Atletico but are likely to bring back Simao and Victor Casadesus who’ve both served their respective suspensions for accumulating too many yellow cards.