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Sunday, 04 January 2015, 20:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

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Saturday, 20 December 2014, 15:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

Primera Liga midweek preview

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has warned their rivals his team are just getting going after opening the season with five straight wins in La Liga and a thumping of Ajax in the Champions League.

Last Updated: 24/09/13 at 10:40 Post Comment

Barcelona: Looking to maintain their perfect record

Barcelona: Looking to maintain their perfect record

A 4-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano at the weekend came on the back of an identical scoreline against the Dutch giants in midweek, allowing Martino to match the impressive start of his predecessor Tito Vilanova last season.

Few would bet against them adding another success at home to Real Sociedad on Tuesday and Martino is seeing signs of improvement in his team.

"I believe we are getting better," he said. "I would like to keep going along the way we played in the second halves against Ajax and Rayo. I feel we are getting there.

"I see the players more comfortable each day and think we are improving all the way. We have a perfect amount of points but are not close to perfection in our performances. We can keep improving; there are a lot of things we can do better."

Martino has announced a 19-man squad for the match, with Sergio Busquets recalled and Cesc Fabregas rested.

Real Madrid are only two points behind as they prepare to face Elche on Wednesday, but their more immediate concern is the fitness of world record signing Gareth Bale, who had to pull out of Sunday's 4-1 win over Getafe before kick-off with an injury.

Scans have revealed muscle fatigue, and while he is certain to miss the midweek match, it is unclear when he will return.

Barca are not alone in boasting a 100 per cent record as Atletico Madrid sit level at the top of the table thanks to the scintillating form of striker Diego Costa.

Tuesday's visit of a struggling Osasuna side should give them the chance to continue their own strong start.

Villarreal have cooled off with back-to-back draws but remain unbeaten and, just five games into their return to the top flight, are living it up like they used to in the top four.

There will be a good measure of how long they might be able to keep this form going when Espanyol, also enjoying an impressive start, are the visitors on Thursday.

Valencia endured a difficult start to the campaign but responded to a dismal 3-0 home loss to Swansea in the Europa League with a 3-1 victory over Sevilla on Sunday and will attempt to turn it into a fully-fledged revival away to Granada on Wednesday.

Sevilla, meanwhile, will hope to lift themselves off the foot of the table when they take on a Rayo side still reeling from that Barca drubbing.

Tuesday's fixtures are completed by Levante hosting Valladolid and Almeria travelling to Malaga.

On Thursday, Athletic Bilbao take on Real Betis, and Getafe are at home to Celta Vigo.

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Readers' Comments

W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

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