LaLiga Matchday 36: Celta Vigo visit Camp Nou as Real host Levante
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Having confirmed their spot in next season's Champions League, Barcelona now turn their attention to nailing down second place in LaLiga — starting with tonight's clash against Celta Vigo.
Champions Real Madrid will be aiming to bounce back from their weekend derby defeat when they welcome lowly Levante to the Bernabeu on Thursday.
Elsewhere, Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid will each be looking to seal their places in Europe against relegation-threatened trio Mallorca, Cadiz and Elche respectively.
Game of the week: Barcelona vs Celta Vigo (Tuesday, 8.30pm)
They have guaranteed themselves a top-four finish but Barcelona will want to finish second in LaLiga as a matter of pride.
The Blaugrana have lost two of their previous three home games, while Celta Vigo have only suffered defeat in one of their last four league outings.
Xavi's men will be looking to assert themselves aerially, having scored a LaLiga-high 16 headed goals this season — the joint-third most of any team in Europe's top five leagues — while their opponents have only mustered a league-low three.
Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba could be key to the Catalans' efforts, having registered at least twice as many assists (10) as any other defender in the competition this term.
However, Celta Vigo have a potent weapon of their own in forward Iago Aspas, who has scored nine goals in 14 LaLiga matches against Barcelona — level with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Here are the other big games to watch this week…
Real Madrid vs Levante (Thursday, 8.30pm)
The champions host second-bottom Levante in a fixture which may seem like a formality on the surface — but history says otherwise.
Only against Villarreal (30%) do Real Madrid have a lower win percentage in LaLiga than against Levante (33%) since 2017-18 (of teams they have played at least four times).
Additionally, Los Blancos have won just one of their last four home league encounters against Thursday's opponents (one draw and two defeats), after coming out on top in 10 of their previous 11.
Levante are also enjoying an upturn in form, having emerged victorious from three of their last six league games — that is as many as in their previous 37 outings in the competition.
Carlo Ancelotti and Alessio Lisci's clash is just the third time Italian managers have faced each other in LaLiga after two meetings between Valencia's Claudio Ranieri and Atleti's Arrigo Sacchi in 1998-99.
Sevilla vs Mallorca (Wednesday, 7.30pm)
Sevilla, who are yet to mathematically secure a top-four spot, will be boosted by their recent record against Mallorca — they have won their last three home league games against Los Bermellones, having never managed four in a row.
Furthermore, Mallorca have won just five of their 25 away matches against Sevilla in Laliga and none of their last nine on the road in the competition. Defeat would see them equal their longest-ever losing run away from home.
The relegation-threatened side could hold out hope for a point, though, with Sevilla having drawn nine of their last 15 league games — more than any other side in Europe's top five divisions this calendar year.
To do so, they will look to striker Angel Rodriguez, who has scored more LaLiga goals at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium than at any other opposition ground (three — level with Valencia's Mestalla).
Real Sociedad vs Cadiz (Thursday, 6pm)
Cadiz find themselves just three points clear of the relegation zone and must pay a visit to Sociedad, who are targeting Europa League qualification.
La Real have won their last five in a row against Cadiz in all competitions — with three coming in the league — and are unbeaten in their previous 13 home meetings with Los Piratas.
However, Sociedad are in poor form, having picked up just two of the last 12 points available.
Meanwhile, Cadiz have won two of their last four games in LaLiga, which is only one win fewer than in their previous 18 matches in the competition.
Elche vs Atletico Madrid (Wednesday, 8.30pm)
Elche are on the brink of confirming safety but face a tough task against Atleti and head coach Diego Simeone, who is managing his 400th LaLiga game at the club.
Elche have lost their last four home league matches against Atleti, failing to score in the last three — as many defeats as in their previous 18 such encounters.
The club from the capital have also won their last nine league games against Los Franjiverdes since 2002, keeping a clean sheet in six of the most recent seven victories.
Antoine Griezmann may see this fixture as a good opportunity to break his 12-match duck, having scored four goals in five league fixtures against Elche.
However, he has failed to find the net in each of his two visits to the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero in the competition.
The weekend's other games
Valencia vs Real Betis (Tuesday, 6pm)
Granada vs Athletic Bilbao (Tuesday, 7pm)
Osasuna vs Getafe (Wednesday, 6pm)
Alaves vs Espanyol (Wednesday, 6pm)
Rayo Vallecano vs Villarreal (Thursday, 7pm)
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