Villa sets sights on Barca spot

A look ahead to the weekend's action in the Spanish La Liga, including Barcelona's clash with Celta Vigo.

Last Updated: 01/11/12 at 17:00 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  Spanish La Liga. Click here to bet.

Villa: Wants more first-team opportunities

Villa: Wants more first-team opportunities

Barcelona forward David Villa is hoping his performance and goal in Wednesday night's 3-0 Copa del Rey victory over Alaves will lead to more opportunities for the first team.

The former Valencia man opened the scoring at the Estadio de Mendizorroza in what was only his fourth start of the season after eight months out injured with a fractured tibia.

Villa is desperate for more playing time in the Primera Division and could be in line to face Celta Vigo this Saturday.

"After all this time I want to play as much as possible, but I am in the hands of professionals and they know what's best for me," he said.

"I'm at the best club in the world, where there is competition to start in every game."

Boss Tito Vilanova will be without Gerard Pique although his other defensive problems have been slightly eased as Dani Alves made his return from injury against Alaves, while Javier Mascherano is available again after serving his one-game ban in the 5-0 win over Rayo Vallecano last weekend.

Gustavo Cabral is suspended for the visitors and is set to be replaced by Samuel, while Cristian Bustos is expected to replace Mario Bermejo.

Barca's arch rivals Real Madrid, who find themselves eight points behind the leaders, have five first-team players out due to injury or suspension for the visit of Real Zaragoza.

Xabi Alonso is banned after seeing his fifth yellow card of the season in the 5-0 win over Mallorca last time out, while Alvaro Arbeloa, Fabio Coentrao, Marcelo and Sami Khedira are still sidelined by injury.

Zaragoza will be without Adam Pinter, Ivan Obradovic and Maurizio Lanzaro who are all still out injured.

Atletico Madrid are second to Barcelona on goal difference and will have a fresh squad ahead of their crunch clash with Valencia on Sunday, with many first-team players rested for their midweek cup triumph over Real Jaen.

"I think we are looking to have fresh players and at the moment we are managing it in this manner," said boss Diego Simeone.

"The principal point is that the players have successfully responded to the expectations and needs of the club.

"The congratulations are for them because they have given a very good response in all competitions."

Los Che are 14 points behind their opponents and veteran midfielder David Albelda has pleaded with fans to give new coach Mauricio Pellegrino a chance to prove himself.

"When you analyse this you can see there are new methods, a new coach and a new squad," he told Punto Radio.

"There needs to be a process of adaptation and we can't just believe in the theory that we have a base as in previous years.

"That's where the inconsistency is shown because you can see there is the potential to do good things, but there are also days when things can go wrong."

Third-placed Malaga will be without Nacho Monreal and Jeremy Toulalan for the match against Rayo Vallecano but Joaquin and Francisco Portillo should come back in after being rested from the start in last weekend's 0-0 draw at Espanyol.


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