Levante prepare for Barca test

A look ahead to the weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Division as Barcelona face Levante.

Last Updated: 18/04/13 at 18:23 Post Comment

Lionel Messi: Could miss out for Barcelona

Lionel Messi: Could miss out for Barcelona

More of the games that matter

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

Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez does not expect his life to be made any easier by the potential absence of Lionel Messi when his side take on Barcelona on Saturday.

Messi has been struggling with a thigh injury and missed the last two Primera Division games although Barca have continued to shine in his absence, with a 5-0 win over Real Mallorca followed by a 3-0 triumph against Real Zaragoza.

And, despite returning to training on Thursday, it is expected the Argentinian will be rested for Saturday's clash at the Nou Camp as Barca prepare for their Champions League semi-final encounter with Bayern Munich three days later.

Not that Martinez is expecting Messi's absence to make the task any easier against a side who go into the weekend 13 points clear at the top of the league.

He said: "He may not be playing but he has not played in the last two games and I think they have an 8-0 aggregate.

"We must be bold when we have chance, but we have to be very strong defensively.

"Both Real Madrid and Barcelona are games that you know are going to be difficult. Their statistics are ridiculous, so it's another nice challenge for Saturday."

Just as Barca are 13 points clear at the top of the league, Levante are 13 points away from the relegation zone and virtually assured of top-flight football next season.

Second-placed Real Madrid host Real Betis on Saturday as they attempt to keep ahead of city rivals Atletico, who travel to Sevilla on Sunday.

Just three points separate the two sides who will meet in the Copa del Rey final on May 17 and Atletico winger Juanfran wants to finish the season with a flourish.

"For us it is a very exciting final course," he said. "We have some big games in which everything will be decided and we will see if our season has been good, very good or great.

"We want to finish second and win the cup final, but first we have a match against Sevilla.

"Encounters at the Sanchez Pizjuan are always very hard."

Relegation-threatened Mallorca take on Rayo Vallecano on Friday night and will be desperate for a win to take them out of the relegation zone and apply some pressure on the teams around them.

The other two teams in the drop zone play on Monday night as Celta Vigo host Zaragoza.

Malaga travel to Valencia on Saturday with both sides level on 50 points and three points for either would move them to within a point of fourth-placed Real Sociedad who travel to Osasuna on Sunday.

Granada host Real Valladolid on Saturday while in Sunday's remaining games Getafe take on Espanyol and Athletic Bilbao travel to Deportivo la Coruna.


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

sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

HarryBoulton
Rodgers: The pressure's on

B

eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

sinbadsdad
Neville: Reds need a rest

G

ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

uncle-muller
F365's Top Ten Counter-Attacking Goals

Footer 365

Arsene Wenger has responded to criticism from Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits to being disappointed in criticism from shareholder Alisher Usmanov

Transfer news: Mario Balotelli's agent dismisses Inter transfer rumours

Mario Balotelli's agent has dismissed reports that the striker is set to return to Serie A from Liverpool in January.

Champions League: Brendan Rodgers focused on delivering Liverpool victory

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers remains fully focused on Wednesday’s Champions League match.

Mail Box

Counter-Attacks: Making Me Fall In Love Again

There is a good deal of love for counter-attacking goals, plus some sympathy for Arsene Wenger, heaping the praise on Chunky Pardew too early and why Klopp > Rodgers...

There's Excitement In Toon Again...

We have mails on a young, vibrant Newcastle side along with the usual woe from those in the red of Liverpool and Arsenal. We just love having the Premier League back...

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