Last weekend’s La Liga action finished with a real bang at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Monday evening, as a superb hat-trick from Alvaro Negredo helped an inconsistent Sevilla side ease to a 4-1 success against hapless Celta Vigo, who remain firmly entrenched in the relegation zone with twelve games of the season remaining.
And this weekend’s fixtures place further emphasis on the teams at the foot of the table, with Celta hosting a fully wound up Real Madrid on Sunday afternoon as Deportivo La Coruna head for a daunting trip to the Nou Camp to face champions elect Barcelona on Saturday night.
Os Celestes tame collapse in Seville was their fourth defeat in five and confidence could barely be lower for Abel Resino’s men ahead of their clash with Real, who are currently riding on the crest of a wave following back to back El Classico victories and a 2-3 aggregate triumph over Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Celta Vigo’s slim chances may well hang solely on the fact that their home form has been useful at times during the campaign, with five wins and just three defeats in twelve offsetting their dismal form on the road which has clearly been the catalyst towards their present standing of 18th in the league.
Madrid manager Jose Mourinho may well opt to rest several of his major stars following their efforts at Old Trafford in midweek, however the three points should be a given considering that a Los Merengues second string accounted for arch rivals Barcelona in La Liga just seven days ago.
Despite that result, Barca are still in complete command at the head of affairs and they hold an eleven point advantage over Atletico Madrid going into the weekend.
The visit of rock bottom club Deportivo should represent an easy opportunity to get back on track for the Catalans – and they will be expected to cruise past a doomed La Coruna side that have failed to win away from home in 2012/13.
Moreover, Depor’s porous defence has conceded a whopping 56 goals already this season and they will come up against a frontline looking to further increase upon Barca’s incredible 83 goal La Liga haul.
Second placed Atletico will be fancied to record their third league victory on the spin at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday evening, but may well have a scrap on their hands with the visitors heading to the Vicente Calderon unbeaten in six league matches and high on confidence.
Meanwhile, fourth placed Malaga will be hoping to reaffirm their top four credentials as they take on Real Valladolid at Jose Zorrilla, whilst fellow Champions League chasers Valencia head for the Basque country to face a Bilbao outfit desperate to move clear of the drop zone and a potential relegation battle in the final weeks of the campaign.
Elsewhere, Rayo Vallecano and Mallorca host Espanyol and Sevilla respectively on Saturday, whilst Levante welcome Getafe to the Estadio La Cruz on Sunday tea-time.
The weekend’s action gets underway in Seville on Friday night as Real Betis face Osasuna at the Benito Villamarin and draws to a close on Monday evening with an intriguing fixture at La Romareda between 16th and 17th placed sides Real Zaragoza and Granada.