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Valdez and Jesus Navas - FCB - Sevilla / PHOTO: FCB ARCHIVES

Bielsa –“the best on the planet”

Pep Guardiola reckons Bielsa is “the best coach on the planet”, but the Argentinean knows
he’ll have to lift his players again for Sunday’s visit of Valencia to San Mames if they are to stay
in the chasing group behind the top two. Last week’s defeat at Osasuna meant they dropped
to seventh, seven points behind Valencia, whose own league form has hardly been sparkling,
with last week’s draw against Mallorca making it just two wins out of their last ten games – a
run that has made what looked like a nailed on third place come under threat. For the hosts,
Llorente limped off after scoring on Thursday, but he hasn’t been ruled out for the game,
unlike Amorabieta and Toquero who are both suspended.

Cazorla: “we can win”

Fourth place Málaga face a tough call at the Bernabéu, where only Barça have managed to
take a point this season, but Santi Cazorla reckons that on the back of their own three game
winning run: "we can do them damage. We must be aware that we can win. They are a tough
opponent and very strong but we must face them head on and we will go out to try and win,
as we do in every game. We need audacity and to know that in a one-off game, anything is
possible”.

Levante out to retake fourth spot

If Málaga do lose in Madrid, then Levante could reclaim fourth spot if they are able to beat
near neighbours Villarreal – who are themselves in desperate need of points sitting just three
points off the drop zone on the back of two defeats. Both Racing and Sporting could catch
Villarreal with the Santander club having what looks to be the toughest task, away to Espanyol
on Monday, whilst Sporting are at Granada, who are just a point above Villarreal, for a real
six pointer. Granada have lost their last three games, whereas the arrival of Javier Clemente
seems to have lifted Sporting, who have lost just once – at the Camp Nou – since he took over.

Osasuna keen to keep up the pace

Bottom club Zaragoza are six points adrift of Sporting and Racing and they will do well to take
anything from an Osasuna team buoyed by their win over Bilbao and determined to keep in
the race for the European spots. Atlético Madrid are two points behind Osasuna and they
will no doubt be boosted by their excellent win in Istanbul on Thursday night when they visit
Mallorca on Sunday, although the Islanders have lost just once at home since Christmas – and
that was against Real Madrid.

In the weekend’s other games, Getafe and Real Sociedad meet in a mid table clash, whilst
Betis need the points from their trip to Rayo if they are to avoid being sucked down into the
relegation battle.


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