La Liga preview: Barcelona hoping to keep pace in Spain

Barcelona have the chance to reduce the gap at the top to a point for 24 hours at least when they travel to Granada on Saturday.

The Catalan club visit second-from-bottom Granada in La Liga, hoping for a victory in order to put pressure back on leaders Real Madrid.

Luis Enrique’s side fell to a shock 1-0 home loss at the hands of Malaga last Saturday, allowing the Blancos to move four points clear with their comfortable 2-0 success at Elche a day later.

World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo was on target to end a three-game La Liga goal drought and open up a three-goal lead over Lionel Messi in their personal duel for the Pichichi top goalscorer award.

However, Madrid continue to be dogged by injury problems with Gareth Bale a doubt for the visit of Villarreal due to an ankle injury he suffered as a result of a horrendous challenge from Aaron Niguez last weekend.

The Welshman’s absence could allow Jese Rodriguez a rare start.

Luka Modric, who resumed training after being sidlined for three months due to injury, will likely miss this game whiles James Rodriguez, Sergio Ramos and Sami Khedira all still ruled out by long-term injuries.

Defending Spanish champions Atletico Madrid will come up against Sevilla on Sunday.

Sevilla haven’t been beaten at the Sanchez Pizjuan in any competition since March last year and need to win to maintain any realistic hope of catching the Spanish champions as they currently lie eight points adrift of Atletico.

Fourth-placed Valencia meanwhile can move level on points with Atletico when they host David Moyes’s Real Sociedad in Sunday’s lunchtime kick-off.

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