La Liga’s bottom two clubs kick off this weekend’s action in Spain as Deportivo La Coruna host Celta Vigo on Friday night at the Riazor, with both sides looking to capitalise upon Real Zaragoza and Granada’s 0-0 stalemate on Monday evening.
That result kept the teams placed 16th and 17th in the league still very much in danger of being sucked into the drop zone and gave hope to the basement strugglers heading into the final weeks of the season – particularly Os Celestes who are just three points away from safety.
In stark contrast, Depor are a massive ten points adrift with eleven to play – and must simply win this fixture at all costs to keep any faint chances of survival alive.
After six straight defeats in the top flight for Depor and only one point in the last half dozen matches for Celta, this seems set to be a true relegation scrap and one goal may be all it takes to settle matters.
18th placed side Mallorca have been on a roll recently and recorded their second victory on the spin in impressive fashion against Sevilla last weekend.
Their charge is likely to be halted on Saturday evening however with a daunting trip to face Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in prospect – and Los Merengues should be far too strong even if Jose Mourinho opts to rest some of his stars with the Champions League quarter-finals on the horizon.
Leaders Barcelona will be equally fancied to dispatch Rayo Vallecano at the Nou Camp on Sunday evening as they seek to close in on the La Liga title.
Tito Villanova’s men were imperious during their 4-0 demolition of AC Milan in Europe this past week and a performance approaching anywhere near that standard against Rayo, who are indifferent on the road, will at the very least ensure that their 13 point advantage at the top of the table is preserved.
Atletico Madrid’s position in the Champions League qualifying places appears more or less assured going into their fixture with Osasuna at El Sadar, nevertheless they will be keen to avoid any more slip-ups following an unexpected home reversal at the hands of Real Sociedad in round 27.
And the Basque outfit will now have their eyes firmly fixed on a ticket to Europe’s top table with only goal difference separating themselves and Malaga in fourth.
Unbeaten in their last six, Sociedad host Valladolid on Saturday afternoon whilst Malaga, fresh from their superb Champions League success over Porto, square off against a flailing Espanyol at La Rosaleda.
6th and 7th placed sides Valencia and Real Betis prepare themselves for an intriguing clash at the Mestalla in Saturday’s late kick-off whilst earlier in the day, Getafe host Athletic Bilbao in search of a fourth win in five.
Elsewhere, Sevilla and Real Zaragoza will look to ignite their disappointing campaigns on Sunday tea-time and with no Monday night fixture this weekend; Granada and Levante complete the line-up later in the day at Los Carmenes both in search of their first victory in March.