Madrid, April 3: The three-way battle for the Primera Liga football title between Atletico Madrid, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid continues this weekend as Spain reaches matchday 32.
This weekend sees Real Madrid face a difficult away game, while their rivals are at home, reports Xinhua.
Atletico Madrid get the ball rolling on Saturday afternoon when they entertain a Villarreal side which has run out of steam in recent weeks.
Atletico will be without striker Diego Costa, who suffered a muscle injury in Tuesday’ s Champions League tie away to FC Barcelona and it will be interesting to see if Atletico’ s efforts in the Camp Nou will affect them on Saturday. Coach Diego Simeone will no doubt make some changes to his starting 11 to try and compensate for tired legs.
Barcelona are in a similar situation, although Tata Martino will be confident his players can take three points off bottom of the table Betis, whose 2-1 home defeat to Malaga Monday night just about ended their hopes.
Barca meanwhile are in a state of shock after Tuesday’s announcement by FIFA that the club been has banned from signing any new players until summer 2015 and that may affect the atmosphere in the Camp Nou Stadium.
Martino will also make changes, with players such as Pedro Rodriguez, Alexis Sanchez and Adriano all earning a start, while Marc Bartra will replace the injured Gerard Pique.
Real Madrid have by far the toughest game of the three as they travel to take on Real Sociedad, who beat Barcelona 3-1 a month ago.
Sixth placed Real Sociedad still have a chance of a top four finish, while Real Madrid will play with the added pressure of knowing Atletico and Barca’ s results. If Barca and Atletico win, anything other than a victory would mean the end of Real Madrid’ s title chances.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a doubt with a problem in his left knee, while Jese Rodriguez is also absent after his recent knee operation and Marcelo has a muscle injury.
The weekend also sees Malaga, who are virtually safe from relegation play at home to Granada, who are not, while Rayo Vallecano and Celta Vigo play another game between two sides who still need to look over their shoulders.
Almeria and Osasuna, who are third and second from bottom of the table, play each other in a game both need to win, while Elche and Getafe also desperately need points in the relegation battle, along with Valladolid who are at home to mid-table Valencia.
Fifth placed Sevilla entertain Espanyol Sunday night, while the round of matches ends Monday when Athletic Club Bilbao visit Levante.