La Liga preview: Sevilla ready for Barca test
By Football News
Saturday's clash between Sevilla and Barcelona shapes as the match of the weekend in La Liga.
Fourth-placed Sevilla remain unbeaten this season and will enter the home clash full of confidence after last week's 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna.
But the momentum they have built in the past fortnight will come to a halt if Michel Gonzalez's charges cannot find a way to counter Barcelona and their in-form playmaker Xavi, who powered their 2-0 win last start over Granada at the Nou Camp.
The Catalan giants had looked to be on the verge of dropping their first points under new coach Tito Vilanova until Xavi struck.
But the fact Barcelona were put on the back foot early in that match will leave Sevilla confident they can topple the ladder leaders.
Real Madrid will look to build on last weekend's breakthrough win when they meet Deportivo.
After a stuttering start, the defending champions sit eight points behind frontrunners Barcelona but were impressive in their 2-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano with Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo showing glimpses of the form needed to propel seventh-placed Real back to the top.
Malaga also face an important encounter when they host sixth-placed Real Betis at La Rosaleda.
Third-placed Malaga are coming off a scoreless draw with Athletic Bilbao while Betis last week managed a 1-0 win over 10-man Espanyol.
Athletic Bilbao travel to fellow strugglers Real Sociedad where a loss for either side would plunge their season into deep water.
Valencia will be out to secure their second win of the campaign against Real Zaragoza and Valladolid against Rayo Vallecano is the other Sunday match.
In other games bottom team Osasuna host mid-table Levante, Atletico Madrid meet Espanyol and Granada face off with Celta Vigo.
The round concludes on Monday when Mallorco host second-placed Getafe.