Barça celebrating a goal against Osasuna / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Pessimism from Levante

Real Madrid should be able to welcome back Marcelo for their game against Levante on
Sunday night. The Valencia team have suffered a dip in their form since Christmas and ahead
of their trip to the Bernabeu, boss Juan Ignacio Martinez struck a pessimistic note: “with
the stats Madrid have, it’s almost not worth turning up. I don’t rule out another big defeat”
(Levante lost 8-0 to Mourinho’s team in the Spanish Cup). On Sunday, Valencia entertain
Sporting Gijon whose squad has been wracked by the flu this week and Iñako Tejado may well
have to do without Botia and Adrian Colunga for what promises to be a tough game.

Espanyol and Bilbao chasing top four spot

Espanyol are level on points with Levante and if they can overcome bottom team Zaragoza in
Cornella at noon on Sunday, they will be up into the Champions League places. Barça’s Cup
final opponents Athletic Bilbao are just a couple of points behind Espanyol and Levante and
buoyed by their semi final win, they travel to Seville to face Betis, who have lost their last three
games, whilst the Basques apart from their defeat in the Bernabeu, have not lost on the road
since September.

In-form Atletico and Racing meet

Atletico Madrid are also hot on the heels of the fourth place, after a brilliant start for Simeone,
who has overseen a five game unbeaten run since he joined at Christmas and taken the team
to sixth, level on points with Bilbao. On Saturday they open the weekend’s proceedings when
they travel to Santander to face Racing, who have also enjoyed a good 2012, with just one
defeat this year.

Villarreal look to escape relegation fight

Villarreal and Granada are both unbeaten over the last two games and the two meet on
Sunday in a game that Villarreal boss Jose Molina reckons: “could confirm our improvement
and get us out of the relegation fight”. Meanwhile, Malaga’s bid for a European spot seems to
have run out of steam with just one win out of their last eight games and they will be hoping to
get back on track when they entertain Mallorca on Sunday.

Finally, there is a mid table Madrid clash between Rayo and Getafe at Vallecas on Sunday and
in Monday night’s game, Michel takes his first game in charge of Seville when they travel to
face Real Sociedad in Donosti.

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