Madrid, March 10 (IANS) This weekend sees important matches at both the top and the bottom of the La Liga.
The weekend kicks off on Friday night when Sporting Gijon travel to face Malaga, who have Mexican international Guillermo Ochoa in goal after Carlos Kameni suffered a knee injury last weekend away to Deportivo la Coruna, reports Xinhua.
Leaders Barcelona get things going on Saturday when they look for their 37th game without defeat at home to a Getafe side that will be boosted from a 1-1 draw at home to Sevilla.
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique may well take the chance to rest players ahead of next week’s Champions League clash at home to Arsenal, although striker Neymar will start after missing last weekend through suspension.
Celta Vigo need to pick themselves up in the wake of last weekend’s 1-7 thrashing away to Real Madrid when they entertain a Real Sociedad side in danger of ending the season in mid-table.
It remains to be seen whether forward Carlos Vela will play for the visitors after last week being fined for a breach of club discipline, going to a concert in Madrid and then missing the following day’s training.
Atletico Madrid are the only team with a realistic chance of catching Barcelona and Diego Simeone’s men are at home to Deportivo la Coruna, who have not managed to win in 2016.
Saturday’s matches end with Rayo Vallecano entertaining Eibar. The home side need points against a rival who looks safe from relegation.
Sunday kicks off with Valencia taking on bottom of the table Levante.
Villarreal have dropped five points in their last two games and will want to finish that trend when they face Sevilla. Sevilla have won their last 12 home games and if Unai Emery’s men are able to claim the points, Villarreal’ s fourth place may not look quite as secure as it did a fortnight ago.
Athletic Club Bilbao will chase their fourth consecutive league win when they entertain a Real Betis side which is virtually safe from relegation after last weekend’s win over Granada, while Real Madrid end the weekend with a trip to play Las Palmas.
Morale is once again high in the Madrid camp after last weekend’s win and midweek qualification for the Champions League quarter-finals, but Las Palmas are in their best form of the season after three wins in three games lifted them out of the relegation zone.