Barcelona exposes the cruising rhythm, unstoppable, in San Mames, where they will visit Athletic with the mission of adding a new victory that would allow them to at least maintain the nine points advantage over Real Madrid, who will host Espanyol, and bring them even closer to the LaLiga Santander title.
With more than a quarter of the competition ahead, Xavi Hernández’s team has the crown in their hands. He commands comfortably, under the protection of his great defensive solvency and his effectiveness. Without boasting, allied at 1-0, it has been enough for him, except for unexpected setbacks such as that of Almería, to carry out his matches even at this stage in which he has had transcendental casualties, such as those of Pedri González, Ousmane Dembele and Robert Lewandowski.
In San Mamés, where they tied last season in LaLiga (1-1) and lost in the Copa del Rey (3-2), he will not be able to count on another of his most decisive players, the Uruguayan defender Ronald Araujo, sanctioned after being sent off against Valencia, but everything points to Lewandowski’s reappearance after recovering from an overload in the left thigh femoral biceps, as well as the return of Gavi after serving his suspension, which raises the question of whether Xavi will return to the four midfielders.
Athletic, which has lost steam in its fight to enter Europe after linking two defeats and a draw, has doubts about the goalkeeper Unai Simón, but at least Ernest Valverde, the last coach who made Barcelona champion, will be able to recover the center-back Yeray Alvarez.
Barcelona will know the result of Real Madrid, who will play in the first shift on Saturday against Espanyolforced not to play again after the draws against Atlético de Madrid and the Betis if you do not want to sing a final goodbye to the league.
At the gates of receiving the Liverpool in the round of 16 second leg of the Champions League with a 5-2 win, the set of Charles Ancelotti it got stuck. Since then he has only scored one goal (the young Álvaro Rodríguez) and it has been from set pieces.
Con Karim Benzema unknown and Vinicius Junior Unwise, the white block needs to rediscover the lost path, and more so against a well-armed team like Espanyol and with important wickets like Sergi Darder and Joselu Mato, among others, even though they are immersed in the fight for permanence. In fact, it is only two points behind Almería, which marks the relegation zone.
History is on the side of Real Madrid in their clashes against Espanyol in the Santiago Bernabeu. They have not given up points since December 2012 and have not lost since April 1996.
The fight for the Champions League is still open. Atlético de Madrid has taken the initiative before the slowdown of Real Sociedad. The Argentine team Diego Pablo Simeone, Eliminated from continental competitions, he focuses all his eyes and preparation on the league, he has a two-point difference over the San Sebastián team and four over Betis. Both have the ‘distraction’ of the Europa League and their round of 16 matches against Roma and Manchester United, respectively.
Atlético de Madrid, who are going through their best moment of the campaign, will close the day on Monday in Montilivi against a team they have never lost to, the Gironavictim of his bad first part in Getafe that ended a good run but that is causing a great impression with a threatening offensive aspect for the rear of the Madrid team.
The Royal Society will visit the Mallorca of the Mexican Javier Aguirre, intractable in Son Moix until the visit of the Elche and that it has lost its top gunner, the Kosovar Vedat Muriqi, sanctioned; and Betis has another demanding exit to La Cerámica, where the reborn awaits Villarreal of Quique Setién, a former coach of the Sevillian team, whose team has entered the European zone thanks to its last two victories.
Despite not winning in the last four games, the Vallecano Ray it is still close to these continental squares. will visit the Celtathat although it seems to have reacted in recent games, the danger is only three points away.
Under the same conditions travel health a Valenciawho, on the other hand, is in a critical situation, penultimate two points from salvation but who seems to have found some light with his victory at Mestalla against Real Sociedad and the good game he played at the Camp Nou despite to defeat.
Cádiz-Getafe, Elche-Valladolid and Seville-Almería complete the twenty-fifth day. There are three tremendous duels for permanence in which, how can it be otherwise, a victory is transcendental and a defeat is a hard blow.
Program of the 25th day
– Friday the 10th:
– Saturday 11:
14.00 Real Madrid-Espanyol
18.30 Celta-Rayo Vallecano
– Domingo 12:
14.00 Mallorca-Real Sociedad
– Monday 13:
21.00 Girona-Atletico Madrid