Barcelona hit Getafe for 6 midweek which was a welcome boost to their goal difference which potentially could decide the title with just 2 points separating them from Real Madrid. Cordoba are on the verge of relegation to the Spanish Segunda after a 1-0 defeat to Levante and they welcome Barcelona who’ll be in no mood to sympathise. The top 3 are all in action on Saturday and is where our coverage will lie.
Cordoba v Barcelona
Barcelona were 5-0 up by half time against Getafe and the deadly trio of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Neymar have now scored 102 goals between them this season. Cordoba are winless in 16 matches and it looks extremely likely that unwanted achievement will extend on Saturday.
Barcelona meanwhile have won 9 of their last 10 matches and have scored at least 2 goals in 9 of the same 10 fixtures. Barcelona thrashed Cordoba at the Nou Camp in December and they may be tempted to rest players with their Champions League semi-finals clash with Bayern on Wednesday.
Luis Enrique seems to be getting his side firing on all cylinders at present and a win would seal the fate of Cordoba but also keep the gap between them and Real Madrid who face a tough trip to Sevilla. Enrique may be tempted to rest a few of his star assets with Munich coming up but Cordoba will throw everything at Barcelona to keep their La Liga survival hopes alive.
Pedro could replace either Neymar or Luis Suarez to give either of the South American’s a rest but both will be eager to add to their goal tallies. Florin Andone will return from suspension for the home side after serving a suspension for the yellow card he picked up in the 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao.
Atletico Madrid v Athletic Bilbao
Diego Simone enjoys competing against Bilbao having won the last 5 times they’ve met. That includes the last 3 occasions which have all been at Bilbao. The away side have taken 7 points from a possible 9 in their last 3 games and should’ve really taken 9 after taking the lead midweek against 10 man Real Sociedad but went on to draw.
Atletico have conceded just 26 goals in 34 La Liga matches and Bilbao average 1 goal every league game so expect Bilbao to struggle breaking down a stubborn defence. The defensive partnership of Diego Godin and Miranda were again present in their 1-0 victory over Villarreal thanks to a Fernando Torres goal. The Spaniard came off the bench to score the game’s only goal but is unlikely to get the nod ahead of Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann upfront.
Bilbao are crucially without Ibai Gomez and Iker Muniain who are two vital players for the away side but welcome back defender Xabier Etxeita from suspension.
Sevilla v Real Madrid
Completing a stunning set of fixtures in the La Liga on Saturday is at the Estadio Ramon where just under 50,000 spectators will be vying for their side to continue their formidable run at home in all competitions. Sevilla haven’t lost at home in any format since March 2014.
35 games later and they’ve yet to lose but face a Real Madrid side looking to pile the pressure on table toppers, Barcelona. The home side in this fixture has won the last 7 times but the neutrals will hope for a similar game to the one played in October 2013 where Real Madrid beat Sevilla 7-3 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema will not be risked by Carlo Ancelotti with the crucial semi-final clash against Juventus in the Champions League the following Tuesday. Cristiano Ronaldo will carry the goal scoring burden but he has not scored in his previous 3 matches which is unlike the Portuguese forward.
Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal collected rather ‘tactical’ looking yellow cards against Celta Vigo which ruled them out of the 3-0 Almeria win and are now set to make a timely return. Sevilla are unlikely to change from the side that won 3-1 against Eibar midweek but Beto, Vitolo and Nicolas Pareja will be ruled out through injury.