Preview: Sabella looking to finalize squad for World Cup
Wednesday’s fixture will allow coach Alejandro Sabella to take a final look at all his players before he decides as to who will make the trip to Brazil for the mega event. One player who is expected to not make the squad is Juventus forward Carlos Tevez.
The former Man City striker last featured for La Albiceleste in the 2011 Copa America quarterfinal and has been overlooked for the national team since the arrival of Sabella in August 2011.
Preview: Barcelona has a chance to makeup points
Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will square off earlier in the day, which gives Barcelona a chance to gain some points on one, or both of their rivals. The thought of Almeria coming into the Nou Camp and grabbing points from the Catalans is hard to believe, but as we saw in Barcelona's last match, anything can happen.
Last weekends 3-1 defeat at the hands of Real Sociedad caught many by surprise. But with Barcelona still set to take on Real Madrid later this month, Tata Martino believes that his side has the title race in their own hands.
Preview: Barcelona have not won at the Estadio Anoeta since 2007
Tata Martino's squad responded well to critics and doubters on Tuesday, when they defeat Manchester City at the Etihad. They will now have to turn their attention to La Liga, where they will be trying to break a streak of winless matches.
Saturday's meeting between these two clubs will be the fourth time they have gone head-to-head this season. This La Liga match will also be the Catalan's second visit to Basque Country in 10 days.
Their last meeting on February 12th ended in a one goal draw, but the Blaugrana already had a 2-0 aggregate lead. Messi gave the visitors the lead in the first half, but a goal from Griezmann in the 87th minute gave Sociedad something to smile about.
Preview: Manchester City want to show their coming of age
Manuel Pellegrini has helped guide Manchester City beyond the Champions League Group Stage, but he now faces a more difficult task. The Chilean manager has his squad competing on four fronts this season, but getting past Barcelona may be his toughest task since his arrival at the Etihad.
Free-flowing offense has City scoring loads of goals, despite an occasional slip-up here and there. They are currently third in the Premier League standings, but they have a game in hand.
Preview: Neymar returns after his injury against Getafe
All the attention around Barcelona has been focused on their upcoming Champions League match. While a meeting with Manchester City promises to be an entertaining affair, the Catalans will first need to get by a Rayo Vallecano side that are in the relegation zone.
Tata Martino’s side jumped back into the top spot of the league standings, taking advantage of a slip-up from Atletico Madrid.
Saturday’s match will mark the return of Brazilian star Neymar, who has been out with an ankle injury since January 16th. But despite his return, he is likely to only see some minutes in the second half.
Preview: Barcelona are 90 minutes away from meeting Real Madrid in the final
A 2-0 victory over Sociedad in the first match was far better than Barcelona's performance. The Catalans were not at their best, and it was very clear in the second half.
Martinez was sent off in the 44th minute, and Barcelona played the entire second half with a man advantage. In normal circumstances, the Blaugrana would have put the game beyond any doubt, but a strange own goal was all they had to show for that second half.
Sociedad will now welcome the La Liga leaders to Anoeta, where they have been impressive as of late.
Preview: Chance to go top again should be extra incentive for Barcelona
Barcelona will head into Sunday’s match away to Sevilla knowing that a victory could put them back in the lead. Although Real Madrid defeated Villareal on Saturday at the Bernabeu, front-runners Atletico Madrid were unable to grab points away to Almeria.
Tata Martino’s men will now try to grab three points from a Sevilla side that has only won five matches at home, from a total of 10.
Sunday’s match will be the first time in over a year that Barcelona take the pitch in league play, out of first place. With that said, Martino will have to make some adjustments to his squad.
Preview: Barcelona should be motivated to bounce back
Real Sociedad will head into the Camp Nou facing a difficult challenge. The Txuri-Urdin are coming off a four goal thumping at the Vicente Calderon against Atletico Madrid, with put the Madrid side at the top of the La Liga table.
The hosts will be equally frustrated on Wednesday, after their disappointing performance at the weekend.
Playing at home is normally a very good chance for the Blaugrana to win, but Valencia had other ideas. Los Che scored three goals, more than any other team has scored at the Camp Nou this season, and defeated Tata Martino's squad.
Preview: Barcelona with a chance to put pressure on their rivals
Saturday's afternoon meeting between Barcelona and Valencia will give the Catalans a chance to pull three points ahead of Atletico Madrid. The bad piece of news for Los Che is that they have lost their last six visits to Camp Nou.
With only two goals in six matches when visiting the Catalans, Juan Antonio Pizzi's men are going to have to put together a very good performance.
Barcelona come into the match on great form, having won three straight, after their one goal draw away to Levante. Tata Martino's men followed that draw up with a 4-1 victory over that same Levante in the Copa del Rey, and finished them off mid-week at Camp Nou with a 5-1 drubbing.
Preview: With a three goal lead, Barcelona have good chances to progress
The first match at the Ciutat de Valencia was kind to the Blaugrana, as they came away with a 1-4 victory. Levante now has to travel to the Camp Nou, where they will have to overcome that first leg defeat. Joaquin Caparros' squad have a difficult task ahead of them, especially playing away form home.
After their president stepped down, many expected Barcelona to struggle, but that has not been the case. The Catalans have won twice in a row, and a victory on Wednesday night could make it three wins in a matter of seven days.
Preview: Barcelona begin life without Sandro Rosell
A week that has brought a lot of media attention to the Camp Nou, now has Barcelona second in La Liga. After failing to grab three points in their last match, the Catalans now trail Real Madrid by two points, but could reclaim the top spot with a victory on Sunday.
The hosts will also start a new chapter, after Sandro Rosell stepped down from the club's presidency.
Controversy involving Neymar's transfer to the La Liga said turned into a lawsuit against Rosell, which eventually forced him to leave the club. Having won a number of titles during his tenure with the Blaugrana, the Spanish giants will now hope they can continue their success. Winning on Sunday would be a start.
Preview: Barcelona will be out to avenge their 1-1 draw from the weekend
The Blaugrana were not all that impressive in their latest match against Levante, but they will be looking to change that. Fortunately for Tata Martino's squad, Atletico Madrid was able to drop points at home, which allows Barcelona to remain top of La Liga.
On Wednesday, both sides will go head to head once again, in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final.
Being able to take on an opponent that you just drew will give both sides a chance to prove their true value. For Barcelona, they will want to show their doubters that mishaps will occur, while Levante will be out to prove that the draw at the weekend was not coincidental.
Preview: Even without Neymar, the Catalans are very dangerous
When Neymar had to be subbed off mid-week, Barcelona fans feared the worst. Seeing how his ankle got caught in the grass, and turned awkwardly, it was difficult not to think of a long absence. Fortunately for the Brazilian, the injury appears to be tendon related, but he will only miss three to four weeks.
Barcelona will take the pitch without him on Sunday, but they have Messi back. The Argentine missed a significant amount of time with injuries, but since his return, he has not stopped scoring. Taking on a Levante side that does not concede much at home will be a good test for the Blaugrana.
Preview: Tata Martino wants to avoid any surprises
Barcelona take a comfortable lead with them into the second leg match against Getafe, but Tata Martino is not convinced that the hosts have given up. In 2007, the won 5-2 in the first leg, only to allow Getafe to win 4-0 in the return leg, eventually eliminating the Blaugrana.
"We have never hidden behind the result of a previous match," Martino told the club's official website. "We will play as if the result was at 0-0."
Getafe will be up against a very difficult task. Not only will they need to overturn a four goal deficit, but their current run of form will not give them any added motivation.
Ronaldo, Messi or Ribery?
Millions of football fans worldwide, as well as a host of football personalities, had circled the 13 January 2014 date on their calendar. On the net, forums have cracked with fierce debates between fans. Now those debates will predictably continue – perhaps with even more pressure – after the ceremony.
However, moments before the name of the winner is announced on Monday night, silence and anxiety will surely prevail. Will Lionel Messi’s four-year rule come to an end? Will the football world reward silverware influence above individual performance by giving the prize to Ribery? Or will La Pulga add more lines to history with a fifth Ballon d’Or and leave Ronaldo waiting for his time to come again?
Preview: Barcelona are current league leaders, but Atletico are out to change that
Real Madrid will be watching this match attentively, as they know any result will favor them. Obviously a draw would probably be the best, but both sides will more than likely go for the full three points.
The Vicente Calderon will get to see Neymar, Messi and Diego Costa on the pitch together. Three magnificent players in their own right, who can alter a game at any given moment. Unfortunately for Messi, his season has been marked by some injuries, but the Argentine returned with two quick goals in Barcelona's last fixture.
Preview: Messi's return will steal all the headlines
Lionel Messi's return has been long awaited by Barcelona's fans, and they could likely see his return on Wednesday. A Copa del Rey fixture at home would be a perfect opportunity for the Argentine to get some competitive minutes under his belt, just before a very important La Liga match at the weekend against Atletico Madrid.
But before the Catalans can worry about Atletico, they will need to get by a Getafe squad that they defeated 5-2 on December 22.
Tata Martino's squad were down 2-0 after 14 minutes in that match, but luckily a hat-trick from Pedro, and a brace from Cesc Fabregas helped Barcelona earn three points.
Preview: Blaugrana look to continue their form with Valdes back in the squad
Victor Valdes is set to leave Barcelona in the summer, but until then, the Spanish goalkeeper is a key figure at Barcelona. A calf injury has kept him out for quite sometime, but Jose Manuel Pinto did a decent job in his absence.
His return will be a boost to the whole squad, who look to open the new year with a victory. Failure to do so would leave Atletico Madrid top of the table, with both sides set to meet in their next La Liga fixture.
Heading into the Vicente Calderon in first place will be what Tata Martino will want, as well as the Catalan players.
La Liga may host what undisputedly are two of the world’s best players, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but one common remark one may hear about the Spanish league is its predictability.
It offers as good a chance of predicting who’ll win the title come May as easily as one can figure whether a Republican or Democrat will win the next United States presidential election.
“You have a 50-50 chance of picking La Liga’s winner”, is a common jest made on many football forums and inside pubs all around the world.
Indeed, such is Barcelona and Real Madrid’s dominance over the past few decades that it really has become a two-horse race, where the Blaugrana and Los Blancos are way ahead of everyone else, who’s left to fight for the scraps for third place and beyond.
Preview: Off the field issues could cause problems for the Blaugrana
Barcelona's players more than likely sat back and watched Atletico Madrid take on Levante Saturday night. Unfortunately for the Catalans, Simeone's squad managed a slender 3-2 victory, which now has them top of the table, with Barcelona still yet to play.
Sunday's match will not only give Barcelona a chance to climb back into the top spot, but they will also look to give their fans something to smile about.