La Liga: Barcelona Host Getafe Before Real Madrid Face Atletico In The Madrid Derby

Barcelona Vs Getafe (8pm CET)

What a week it has been for Barcelona Football Club. With rumours floating around about the players having experimented with performance enhancing drugs and a  'random' visit from the UEFA Doping Agency, they were then hit with the devastating news that Eric Abidal had been diagnosed with a tumour in his liver. Yet, Pep Guardiola will need to get his players up for this one if they want to arrive at the Bernabeu with their five point lead intact in April as Getafe arrive at the Camp Nou in no mood to roll over for their illustrious hosts.

Carlos Puyol remains sidelined with injury and he has been joined by Pedro, Maxwell and of course Abidal, which means Gabby Milito and Adriano will slot into the back four and Mascherano joins Xavi and Iniesta in midfield, with Sergio Busquets being given a rest. Bojan will be rewarded for his goal at Sevilla with a rare start. Getafe also have injury problems of their own, with Rafa and Gavilan both ruled out for the season, while the game has come too soon for keeper Ustari, Mario, Mané and Colunga. Their midfield powerhouse Derek Boateng will also be missing through suspension, so Michel has a lot of work on his hand to patch a team together for the most difficult away fixture in Spanish football.

One man who will be on the pitch come 8pm is Lionel Messi, a player that seems to relish facing Getafe, the team he scored that Maradona-esque goal against on April 18 2007. Barcelona have won the last four meetings between the two sides, while Getafe will look to the class of 2009 for inspiration as that season they managed a 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture.

TEAMS:

Barcelona: Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Milito, Adriano; Mascherano, Xavi, Iniesta; Villa, Messi and Bojan

Getafe: Codina; Miguel Torres, Marcano, Cata, Víctor Sánchez; Borja, Manu, Parejo, Casquero; Albín and Arizmendi

 

Atletico Madrid Vs Real Madrid

How Atletico Madrid would love to end Real Madrids hopes of toppling Barcelona at the top of La Liga! Well they'll have the chance tonight at the Vicente Calderon as Real Madrid hop across to the shores of the River Manzanares in what is the start of a serious set of away fixtures for Mourinhos men. With desparate draws away at Depor and Almeria, Mourinho knows full well that any more dropped points and they can kiss goodbye to their chances of landing the La Liga title.

For Atletico Madrid, the chance of ending Real Madrids league hopes is about as it's going to get this season as they have been knocked out of all the cup competitions and struggle to jump up the the Europa League positions in the table. In Diego Forlan and especially Sergio Agüero they have two strikers that are a match for any defence in world football. Raul Garcia and Assuncao are expected to start on the bench which means starts for new signing Elias and Mario Suarez in midfield, while Alvaro Domingues keeps his place in the starting XI having sorted out his differences with manager Quique Sanchez Flores.

For Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho the match comes straight off the back of a successful yet draining Champions League tie against Lyon. Cristiano Ronaldo will no doubt be eager to start having made a return against the French, although Mourinho is expected to give rests to Sami Khedira and man of the moment Karim Benzema, with Lass Diarra and Emmanuel Adebayor coming in. But with nine goals in his last six matches, Benzema will be desparate to get some game time to continue his stunning run of form.

There is no room for error for Real Madrid, but having not lost a derby in ten years Mourinho and his men will be confident of travelling back across the capital come midnight will three points in the bag.

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