Barca face stiff test

Spanish La Liga football leaders Barcelona face a stiff test this weekend, with plenty of emotional reunions and opportunities for revenge against local rivals among the exciting fixtures.

Table-toppers Barça will need to be at their best at the Camp Nou against Valencia, with a lot having changed for both teams since their 1-1 at Mestalla in October.

Blaugrana talisman and league topscorer Lionel Messi has hit another hot streak recently, but Los Che have also clicked in recent weeks with centre-forward Rodrigo Moreno among the goals.

Second-placed Atletico Madrid travel to Real Betis tomorrow afternoon, in what could be a debut for both Atletico’s loan signing Alvaro Morata and Betis’ new arrival Jese Rodriguez, two forwards who know each other well having come through the ranks together at Real Madrid.

Real Madrid themselves will aim for a fourth straight La Liga win tomorrow evening at the Bernabeu, with visitors Alaves having hit a dip recently but able to draw confidence from their famous 1-0 win against Los Blancos in their first meeting of 2018-19.

Today’s early game has Levante at home to Getafe, two teams in mixed form lately with the fixture having ended in a draw in five of the last La Liga seasons. Then comes a big Basque derby, with Athletic Bilbao travelling to Real Sociedad with Los Leones looking for revenge for the Txuri-urdin’s 3-1 victory in October’s reverse fixture. Both clubs have changed coach since then, with results improving since both Gaizka Garitano and Imanol Alguacil were promoted from the B teams to their respective senior sides.

Today’s late game sees 18th placed Celta looking for an upturn in fortunes against a Sevilla team riding high in fourth spot in the table but without a LaLiga win on the road since September. Tomorrow’s action begins with Javi Calleja returning to the Villarreal bench for a second spell as coach this season. Espanyol are the visitors at the Estadio de la Ceramica looking for a first three points away from home since October.

Spanish La Liga Fixtures

Today: Levante v Getafe (2pm); Real Sociedad v Athletic Bilbao (5:15pm); Barcelona v Valencia (7:30pm); Celta de Vigo v Sevilla (9:45pm).

Tomorrow: Villarreal v Espanyol (1pm); Real Betis v Atlético Madrid (5:15pm); Eibar v Girona (7:30pm); Real Madrid v Deportivo Alavés (9:45pm).

Monday: Rayo Vallecano v Leganés (10pm)

source:the herald

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