Barcelona aims to cement the top position in La Liga; while others eyeing on Champions League berth

Updated: Feb 02, 2018, 17:23 IST | mid-day online correspondent |

Barcelona aims to cement top position with a win over Espanyol in the Catalan Derby

Barcelona

Barcelona aims to cement top position with a win over Espanyol in the Catalan Derby
After coming from behind to beat Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou, Barcelona will be looking to cement top position in the LaLiga table with a win over Espanyol in the Catalan derby. Messi helped Barca complete the comeback and all eyes will be on the unstoppable Argentine "Magician" when the two local rivals face each other at RCDE Stadium. Los Periquitos are on a three-game losing run in all competitions ahead of the derby but they had defeated Barca at home in the Copa del Rey earlier in January, but Valverde's team were without several first-team regulars back then. Barcelona are having a season to remember and, taking everything into account, it looks like Messi and boys will going to extend their winning run in LaLiga to eight matches.

Levante face an uphill task in Sunday's football match against Real Madrid
Real Madrid quickly bounced back from a shocking Copa del Rey loss to Leganes, with the team steam rolling in their own backyard. Los Blancos have been scoring goals for fun in LaLiga of late and the title holders will be looking to give fans yet another reason for celebration when they visit Levante. Madrid coach Zidane is determined to keep his job and there is every chance the French tactician is going to field the best possible side against the relegation-threatened side. Ronaldo scored a brace in the 4-1 win over Valencia, meaning that the opposition defenders should have him at bay. Los Levantinos, on the other hand, came from two goals behind to share the spoils with Deportivo, with the team putting an end to their three-game winless run in the national championship. However, Levante face an uphill task in Sunday's football match against Zidane's boys who are on a goal scoring spree.

Valencia's Attack vs Atletico's Defence
LaLiga's most efficient attack meets its best defence in this weekend's big game. Valencia's third position is largely due to the ability of their strikers to convert chances into goals. In contrast, Atletico Madrid owe their current second position to conceding less than expected. Goalkeeper Jan Oblak has consistently prevented teams from scoring to expectations. This season they have conceded only 9 goals in 21 games and will need to be just as solid to secure a result on Sunday. The head-to-head record between the two teams is very much in favour of the Madrid.

Villarreal aims for Champions League berth when they meet Real Betis
The Yellow Submarine will aim to build on a thrilling 4-2 win over Real Sociedad and a victory over Real Betis could see them climb to the Champions League berth in the LaLiga standings. Javi Calleja's men are on a four-game winning run in all competitions and they are certainly brimming with confidence ahead of the trip to Andalusia. Real Betis suffered a heavy 5-0 loss to Barcelona in their last home game and, no doubt, they would be happy with one point from the Villarreal match. However, seeing that the visitors, would be eager to secure a top-four finish and this away win would be of immense importance to them. In their last meeting in Seville, Villarreal recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over Villarreal and the history is likely to repeat itself.

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