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Celta Vigo v Barcelona

Sunday, 05 April 2015, 20:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

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Sunday, 22 March 2015, 20:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

La Liga weekend preview

Barcelona do not have long to dwell on their Champions League disappointment against AC Milan as they prepare for a run of fixtures which could have a huge impact on their season.

Last Updated: 23/02/13 at 12:47 Post Comment

Xavi: Knows Barcelona must bounce back from their loss to Milan

Xavi: Knows Barcelona must bounce back from their loss to Milan

The league leader's hopes of conquering Europe for a fourth time in eight seasons suffered a huge blow on Wednesday night when they lost the first leg of their last-16 tie against Milan 2-0 in Italy.

However, the Catalan giants need to bounce back quickly as in the coming weeks they play a series of key matches - including two showdowns with arch rivals Real Madrid next week and also the return meeting with Milan on March 12.

The good news for Barca is they go into Saturday's league clash with Sevilla boasting a 12-point lead at the top of the table, but another slip-up would set the nerves jangling ahead of Tuesday's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Madrid at the Nou Camp, with the tie evenly poised at 1-1.

Barca midfielder Xavi, whose side go the Bernabeu in the league four days after the cup showdown, said: "It's a cup-tie and that motivates us, regardless of yesterday's result. We would love to get to that final, it will be a very tense game.

"(But) before then we have the league game, which is very important."

He added of the performance at the San Siro: "We need to correct our mistakes. We need to be more united than ever."

Improving Sevilla head to the Nou Camp having won three of their first four league games under new coach Unai Emery, and they will be hoping to take advantage of any European hangover the Catalan side might be suffering from.

Not that Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic is expecting anything other than a fully-focused Barca outfit.

He said: "We are talking about the best team in the world. No team is happy after losing, but they have too much quality to say that the defeat is going to make them nervous."

Like Barca, Sevilla are also in cup action next week as they host Atletico Madrid in their semi-final second leg, trailing 2-1 from the first meeting.

Atletico will hope to go into that game on the back of a league win over Espanyol at the Vicente Calderon, where Diego Simeone's men have won their last 13 league matches.

Stuttering champions Real Madrid, who are four points behind second-placed Atletico, warm up for their double-header against Barca with a trip to rock-bottom Deportivo La Coruna.

Madrid have only won once at the Riazor in the last two decades - that victory coming in 2010 - but with Depor on a five-match losing streak, Jose Mourinho's men will be confident of claiming all three points on Saturday.

Also this weekend, Abel Resino's first match in charge of Celta Vigo sees him face former club Granada, fourth-placed Malaga have an Andalusian derby with Real Betis, Valencia in fifth travel to struggling Real Zaragoza, second-bottom Real Mallorca host Getafe and Rayo Vallecano take on Real Valladolid.

Friday night sees Athletic Bilbao take on Basque rivals Real Sociedad, while on Monday Osasuna go to Levante.

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Readers' Comments

S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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