Real Madrid could secure the Spanish Primera Liga title this weekend: if their closest rivals Villarreal lose to Betis and Barcelona fail to win at Deportivo. La Liga Review looks ahead to this weekend's Spanish Football action - with form guides, team news and squad lists...
Last Sunday's 2-0 victory at fifth-placed Racing Santander means Madrid head into this weekend's action with a 10-point gap over Villarreal in second, and an 11-point lead over third-placed Barcelona. Unfortunately, La Liga Review isn't able to bring you the usual in depth reviews of all the action. It's still chaos here in Barcelona and posting is still being done on the hoof and often from a blackberry, so updates and team news will be updated over the course of the weekend. The good news is, we got to interview Hristo Stoichkov, but more on that later...
Saturday 26 April 2008 (Spanish Time)
20:00 Deportivo 2 - Barcelona 0 FT
22:00 Murcia 0 - Sevilla 0 FT
Sunday 27 April 2008
17:00 Valladolid - Almeria
17:00 Getafe - At. Madrid
17:00 Recreativo - Levante
17:00 Espanyol - Zaragoza
17:00 Valencia - Osasuna
17:00 Mallorca - Racing
19:00 Betis - Villarreal
21:00 R. Madrid - Athletic
Deportivo La Coruña (9th) - FC Barcelona (3rd)
FC Barcelona face a bit of a dilemma this weekend when they head off to Galicia for their match with Deportivo.
In terms of domestic interests, this is a match that they absolutely must win in their pursuit of second place in La Liga; yet it is also a game that they could really do without ahead of Tuesdays Champions League semi final second leg clash with Manchester United.
Barcelona are eleven points behind Real Madrid at the top of the table, and they have little hope of catching up with just five games of the season remaining. However, Barcelona are just one point behind Villarreal in second place and in terms of avoiding the potentially difficult and disruptive CL qualifying round in August, finishing third would be a disaster.
However, it would seem that Rijkaard is prioritising this season's Champion League ahead of the next, and who could blame him? After all, the Barcelona coach is certain to leave the club in the summer and he cannot be blamed for wanting to focus entirely upon the present campaign.
With that in mind, Barcelona have decided to rest Lionel Messi, Eto'o and Xavi, while Iniesta and Milito miss the match through suspension.
Saturday's match could very well end in defeat for the visitors. Deportivo are one of the most in form sides in La Liga, having won seven of their last ten fixtures, and thy have already claimed the scalp of Real Madrid at the Riazor this season. Having risen ten places up the league in recent weeks, Depor now eye a place in next season's UEFA cup.
Barcelona were 2-1 winners when these two sides met earlier on the season
Deportivo W7 D1 L2 (Home W7 D3 L6) Barcelona W3 D4 L3 (Away W4 D8 L4)
Barcelona Squad (confirmed): Valdés & Pinto; Oleguer, Zambrotta, Puyol, Thuram, Márquez, Sylvinho, Abidal; Touré, Deco, Gudjohnsen, Edmílson; Giovani, Bojan, Henry, Ezquerro, Pedrito
Real Murcia CF (19th) - Sevilla FC (6th)
Second from bottom Real Murcia could edge closer to inevitable relegation as they host Champions League chasing Sevilla this weekend.
The home side are 8 points adrift of safety and while they are not yet mathematically down, it is effectively a lost cause. However, the spiky Javier Clemente will not let them go down without a fight.
Curiously, both these sides were beaten 4-1 last weekend, and while Murcia's cause may be lost, Sevilla still have it all to play for.
A hammering at the hands of Almeria was the last thing that Sevilla needed in their pursuit of fourth place and vital Champions League qualification. That defeat moved Almeria to within 3 points of Manolo Jimenez' side and up into seventh. Another slip up this weekend could therefore leave Sevilla fighting for a UEFA cup spot instead of Europe's top club competition: something that they can ill afford at both a financial and sporting level.
Sevilla beat Murcia 3 - 1 earlier in the season
Murcia W2 D0 L8 (Home W6 D3 L7) Sevilla W6 DO L4 (Away W5 D2 L9)
No squads as yet, but Kanoute is certain to miss out through injury. Dragutinovic should return for Sevilla, as does Maresca following his four match ban.
Full previews will be added over the weekend........
Real Valladolid (15th) - UD Almería (7th)
Almeria were 1-0 winners when the two sides last met, earlier this season
Valladolid W3 D3 L4 (Home W5 D8 L4) / Almeria W4 D3 L3 (Away W4 D5 L7)
Getafe CF (13th) - Club Atlético de Madrid (4th)
Atletico beat Getafe 1-0 earlier in the season
Getafe W3 D4 L3 (Home W6 D5 L5) / Atletico Madrid W 4 D1 L5 (Away W6 D4 L6)
Recreativo de Huelva (18th) - Levante UD (20th)
Recreativo were 2-0 winners the last time these two sides met earlier in the season
Recreativo W3 D3 L4 (Home W6 D6 L5) / Levante W4 D0 L6 (Away W2 D1 L13)
RCD Espanyol (10th) - Real Zaragoza (17th)
The match ended 3-3 when Zaragoza hosted Espanyol earlier this season
Espanyol W2 D1 L7 (Home W8 D2 L6) / Zaragoza W2 D2 L6 (Away W1 D4 L11)
Valencia CF (16th) - CA Osasuna (14th)
The match ended 0-0 when these two sides last met this season
Valencia W1 D3 L6 (Home W4 D3 L9) / Osasuna W4 D2 L4 (Away W4 D3 L9)
RCD Mallorca (11th) - Real Racing Club (5th)
Racing were 3-1 winners when these two sides met earlier in the season
Mallorca W4 D4 L3 (Home W6 D6 L4) / Racing W6 D1 L3 (Home W6 D5 L6)
Real Betis Balompié (12th) - Villarreal CF (2nd)
Betis were 1-0 winners earlier this season at El Madrigal
Betis W6 D1 L3 (Home W7 D3 L5) / Villarreal W6 D2 L2 (Away W9 DO L7)
Real Madrid CF (1st) - Athletic Bilbao (9th)
Real Madrid were 1-0 winners when the two sides met in Bilbao earlier in the season
Real Madrid W5 D1 L4 (Home W14 DO L2) / Athletic Bilbao W 6 D2 L2 (Away W4 D3 L8)