Barcelona under pressure to win in today’s La Liga action
The destination of the La Liga title could well be ascertained in a decisive round of matches on Wednesday when leaders FC Barcelona, rivals Atletico and Real Madrid all face potentially complicated opponents.
Barcelona’s dismal run of a draw and three defeats from their last four games has seen their lead at the top of the table evaporate and now only goal-difference keeps them ahead of Atletico Madrid, reports Xinhua.
Coach Luis Enrique has to turn things around as they travel to face Deportivo la Coruna, whose 1-1 draw in Seville on Sunday virtually assured their top flight presence for next season.
Barcelona will be without the suspended Gerard Pique for a game they have to win if they want to maintain their leadership.
Meanwhile the main worry for Enrique will be the poor form of his attacking trio, Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar since the start of the month.
Atletico Madrid have a difficult away game against Athletic Club Bilbao, who climbed to fifth in the table following their battling 1-0 win in Malaga on Sunday.
Atletico will be without midfielder Gabi, which could take some of the bite from their tackling.
But with Koke and Fernando Torres in form they will be optimistic against a home side missing top scorer Aritz Aduriz, striker Sabin Merino and defender Aymeric Laporte, although Inaki Williams is back after shaking off a hamstring problem.
Real Madrid are one point off the top two and are at home to fourth placed Villarreal, who can’t afford to slip up again following their surprise weekend defeat against Rayo Vallecano.
Villarreal have a six point cushion over Athletic Club, but defeat against Madrid could put their Champions League place in jeopardy.
Real Madrid have no new injury worries and Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric should return after being rested at the weekend for a game which could see them take over the top spot.