It’s that time in the season when the Spanish press start talking up the ‘game of the Century’. To the rest of us it’s Barcelona against Real Madrid. In other words second against Fourth in La Liga with just five points separating them.
There is a danger that Osasuna are underestimating their opponents Rangers in tonight’s Uefa cup tie. The Spanish press and even some of the Osasuna players seem more preoccupied with the fact that the match is being played in the same stadium as the final is due to be played, than they are the opposition.
Espanyol play their first ever match on Israeli soil against Maccabi Haifa this evening. Valverdes team are going well in the UEFA cup this season and alongside Tottenham Hotspur are the only two sides unbeaten in the competition.
Valverde will be glad to see that the competition’s top scorer , Walter Pandiani , is able to start for Espanyol this evening and David Garcia faces a late test. Ferran Corominas has also impressed in Europe for the Perico’s and his four goals have seen the homegrown talent catch the eye of a number of observers in the tournament.
Jonatas has gone missing, quite literally, in Brazil , but there are rumours that Ivan De La Pena could make his return to the side.
Probable Espanyol line up : Iraizoz, Chica, Jarque, Lacruz, David García, Moisés Hurtado, Costa, Rufete, Coro, Moha y Pandiani.
Eidur Gudjohnsen believes that if Barcelona are going to salvage anything from the remainder of this season, they are going to have to emulate English clubs. Clearly disappointed after seeing his side knocked out of the Champions League at Anfield, the Icelandic striker says that Barcelona cannot afford to take time out to feel sorry for themselves.
With Real Madrid visiting the Camp Nou at the weekend, Gudjohnsen feels that it is the perfect opportunity for his team mates to show the watching football world what they are made of; "It is a good moment to play against Madrid, and a good moment to give some joy back to the fans," said Gudjohnsen, who scored Barça’s goal at Anfield.
Fc Barcelona do not have history on their side when they take on Liverpool at Anfield this evening. The last time a team lost the first leg of a Champions league tie at home and subsequently went on to overturn the deficit in the away leg to proceed to the next round was Ajax in 1996. There have been fourteen occasions since then that a team, having lost the first leg at home, have gone on to be knocked out.
Such is the hype surrounding every game in La liga that every match is billed as decisive. Not wishing to miss out, La Liga Review takes a look ahead to tonight’s decisive showdown clash between the top two; Sevilla (2nd 47pts) and FC Barcelona (1st 49 pts) .
Rijkaard's side have been boosted following their recent victories over Athletic and Zaragoza. Juande Ramos’s side have been making headlines for altogether different reasons this week.
Amidst all the negativity surrounding the Bernabeu right now, there is one player who you can count on to come out fighting. As combative of the field as he is on it, the veteran full back thinks that Real Madrid have everything to play for in this, their most important week of the season.
With a vital Champion’s league game and the Clasico against Barcelona just around the corner, Salgado is focused on this weekends league clash with Getafe. Speaking on Cadena Ser last night, Salgado said “For me, the most important game is the one against Getafe. Its going to be a tough week with three important matches that will decide our season – starting with Getafe. We’ve got to win at home against what is always a tough opponent”
“We know that we are going to come up against a side that has made it difficult for us at both home and away over the last two seasons. Depending on the result, we will go to the camp nou feeling that we can do something important”
“We have every reason to be optimistic. Right now we are still competitive in two competitions, and in spite of the fact that we’ve not been at our best, because other times like Barcelona haven’t been strong, we are still in with a chance”