Next Game

A Madrid v Valencia

Sunday, 08 March 2015, 20:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

Last Game

Sevilla 0 - 0 A Madrid

Sunday, 01 March 2015, 18:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

La Liga weekend preview

Barcelona return to Primera Division action this weekend buoyed by Neymar's superb Champions League hat-trick against Celtic.

Last Updated: 13/12/13 at 08:26 Post Comment

Neymar: Delighted with his hat-trick against Celtic

Neymar: Delighted with his hat-trick against Celtic

With Lionel Messi sidelined through injury, extra pressure has been heaped on the Brazil international signed from Santos during the summer.

Neymar certainly is not wilting under the spotlight and on Wednesday capped a fine performance with three goals in Barcelona's 6-1 demolition of Celtic.

"I needed a match like this," the 21-year-old said. "I hope it continues.

"I'll save the match ball so that my team-mates can sign it. I'm very pleased that I scored a hat trick in the Champions League, we played really well, and that's what is important."

The win against Celtic and last week's 4-1 defeat of Cartagena in the Copa del Rey have been the ideal response to shock back-to-back defeats.

After losing to Ajax in the Champions League, Barcelona fell to their first league defeat of the season at Athletic Bilbao on December 1.

Now comes a clash with fifth-placed Villarreal - another match in which Neymar could well be they key for Tata Martino's men.

"It was one of the most complete games we've played," the Barca boss said of the Celtic win. "There was good pressure, intensity and we played well.

"Neymar needed a couple of minutes to adapt from his position on the wing to the centre.

"The goal gave him confidence and from there he showed his repertoire.

"I'm amazed at his level of commitment to the team. It's strange in players that are as good as him."

Barcelona head into the weekend top of the standings but level on points with ever-impressive Atletico Madrid, who host Valencia on Sunday evening.

Diego Simeone's side defeated Porto 2-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday to hammer home their position as Group G winners, but goalscorer Raul Garcia is not yet thinking about the knockout stages.

"Up next is Valencia, another tough game," he said. "It is meeting back here at home.

"We must come back and win to stay up the top. We can forget about the Champions League for a few months."

Atletico could go into the match level on points with city rivals Real Madrid, as they travel to struggling Osasuna the day before.

Malaga welcome Getafe to La Rosaleda and Rayo Vallecano face Granada in Saturday's other fixtures, while the early Sunday kick-off sees America take on Espanyol.

Recently-appointed Juan Carlos Garrido will be hoping to lead bottom-placed Real Betis to victory at Real Socieded, before Sevilla take on high-flying Athletic Bilbao.

Friday's fixture sees Levante hoping to end a five-match losing streak in all competitions against Elche, while Real Valladolid play Celta Vigo on Monday.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

e'll be fine, no problem. If they do get relegated, he's definitely going to ask how anyone could ever have thought that Villa were going to be fine given their problems before he came.

treeman1
Premier League Winners And Losers

S

toke though. Hmn. I don't think it was defending that made people dislike Stoke so much as the out and out cheating/nastiness they regularly displayed. That, and they kept buying the odd flair player and then ruining them (Oh! Tuncay, what were you thinking?).

megabrow (cufc)
Being Defensive About Being Defensive...

W

ell that really inspires me with confidence. No point in training, deciding on a coherent formation, or playing players in their best positions, let's just hope we get lucky.

mumbo_jimbo
Van Gaal: Luck is key

Footer 365

West Brom boss Pulis to talk to Sessegnon about diving

West Brom boss Tony Pulis will talk to Stephane Sessegnon about diving after the forward was booked for simulation.

Wes Brown appeal upheld after Sunderland red card at Manchester United

An independent regulatory commission has upheld a claim of wrongful dismissal in relation to Sunderland defender Wes Brown.

Inter Milan don't want to sell Liverpool and Chelsea target Mauro Icardi

Inter Milan insist they have "no intention" of selling reported Liverpool and Chelsea target Mauro Icardi this summer.

Mail Box

Henderson The Best Midfielder In PL?

Jordan Henderson is named by two afternoon Mailboxers as the PL's best midfielder, while another suggests Man United are trying to emulate Barca...

Jose Settles Most Boring Team Debate...

There's lots of reaction to Chelsea and Liverpool's wins on Sunday, plus one Mailboxer asking: Who is the Premier League's best midfielder?

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company