Barca turn focus to title quest

A look ahead to this weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Liga as Barcelona look to close in on the title.

Last Updated: 11/04/13 at 17:51 Post Comment

Barcelona reached the last four of the Champions League

Barcelona reached the last four of the Champions League

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

After securing their place in the last four of the Champions League, Barcelona's focus returns to the Primera Division as they close in on their 22nd title.

Tito Vilanova's side make the trip to Real Zaragoza on Sunday with a 13-point buffer between themselves and second-placed Real Madrid.

Lionel Messi came on as a substitute against Paris St Germain in midweek, but it remains to be seen whether he is risked for this match.

With eight games to go the title is all but assured, but for their opponents where they finish in the table is far from certain.

Zaragoza are one place and one point above the bottom three and have not won in the league since beating Athletic Bilbao in December.

However, Alvaro Gonzalez believes his side could get a positive result at La Romareda, pointing to a recent draw against Real Madrid as proof they can compete against the league's best.

"We should be optimistic. It was said it would be very difficult against Real Madrid but we snatched a point - why not against Barcelona?" he said.

Madrid travel to the Basque country to take on an Athletic Bilbao side who come into the game in decent form.

They may have lost 2-1 at Sevilla last time out, but Marcelo Bielsa's side had won three of their previous four and midfielder Ander Iturraspe says his side will not be playing for a point at the San Mames.

"It is a complicated game and we are all in to try and win," he said.

"We will try to press, build up pressure and to maintain our way of playing is the most important thing we can do."

Atletico Madrid are three points off their city rivals and host Granada in a game boss Diego Simeone is desperate to win.

"If we move away from the most important thing, which is to win on Sunday, it will not be good either for the club or for the players and for the fans," he told reporters.

"We have to prepare and play the way we've been doing all year. We have to win on Sunday because it is an important match for our future."

Sunday is an equally important day for fourth-placed Real Sociedad as they travel to Rayo Vallecano in the lunchtime game and try to cement their place in the Champions League places.

"Getting the three points there is going to be difficult because it is a stadium complex and so is the time of 12 noon," said Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann.

Real Betis and Sevilla kick off the weekend's action tomorrow in the Derbi Sevillano, while on Saturday Real Valladolid host Getafe, Levante take on Deportivo and Malaga face Osasuna.

Valencia travel to Espanyol knowing a win is vital if they want to pip Sociedad to a place in the top four.

"We play every game to be in the next edition of the Champions League," said visiting coach Ernesto Valverde.

In the last game of the round, Real Mallorca face Celta Vigo on Monday evening.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet


More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

really enjoyed this. Thanks F365 for another year of work avoidance - happy Christmas.

megabrow (cufc)
Our Person Of The Year: Alan Pardew

I

m no Sam Fan and this article sums him up beautifully. I always like to imagine that when he watches anything on TV and hears clapping, he stands up and aknowledges the applause, thinking its for him!

cozens
Football Managers On TV: Sam Allardyce

N

ah, Fergie is just having another pop at Rooney. He just wants to put him down whenever he gets a chance. Rooney is by far the best English player. Carrick is not far behind, mind. However, by elevating Carrick like that, Sir is having a dig at Wayne. Fergie is well-known for mind games like that. Good to see he's still feisty.

timbo
Van Gaal will thrive - Ferguson

Footer 365

Premier League: Nemanja Matic says Chelsea can win quadruple

Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic insists the Blues can win the quadruple this season.

Ronald Koeman facing selection crisis ahead of Southampton's match against Everton

Harrison Reed's impressive display against Everton has given Ronald Koeman a selection dilemma.

Scottish Championship: SFA has reject Rangers' request to increase Mike Ashley's shareholding in club

The SFA has turned down a request from Rangers to allow Mike Ashley to increase his shareholding in the club to 29.9 per cent.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property