Barca aim to move closer to title in Spain's matchday 33

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-18 16:53:29|Editor: Xiaoxia
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MADRID, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Matchday 33 in Spain's Liga Santander sees Barcelona with the chance to move closer to the title, while there is a key game in the battle to finish fourth and vital games around the relegation zone.

The weekend kicks off with Alaves at home to Valladolid. Alaves need a win to return to the top-seven after a recent poor run of form, while Valladolid desperately need points after a 2-2 draw at home to Getafe last weekend, which saw them suffer the heartbreak of conceding a 96th minute penalty and dropping into the bottom three.

Saturday kicks off with a head to head duel between two relegation threatened sides as Celta entertain Girona.

Celta will have Iago Aspas (who extended his contract this week) back to inspire them against a rival with two more points, but whose away form (with six wins) is much better than their home form.

Rayo Vallecano's home game to Huesca is probably a visit to the 'last chance saloon' for the teams second from bottom and bottom of the table. Only a win will give either of the two chance of survival and Rayo will place a lot of hope in top scorer Raul de Tomas, who has 14 league goals this season.

Second placed Atletico Madrid visit Eibar for what promises to be a tough game. Atletico are nine points behind Barca and failure to win would bring Barca's title celebrations a little bit closer.

Barca, (who need just nine points to assure the title if Atletico win all their games) entertain Real Sociedad and the league leaders should be in good heart after cruising into the semifinals of the Champions League on Tuesday. Expect some changes from Ernesto Valverde, but not the full-scale squad rotations he used in Huesca a week ago.

Levante have dropped into the relegation dogfight after a run of eight matches without a win and they are now just two points above the bottom three. Levante entertain Wu Lei's Espanyol, who need a win to keep their slim hopes of a top-seven finish alive.

Arguably the weekend's biggest match sees fifth place Getafe meet Sevilla in a game that could well decide which of the two teams will play in next season's Champions League.

Sevilla have won five of their last six league matches to bounce back after a poor start to 2019, while Getafe have just one win from their last five matches.

A draw in Getafe could allow Valencia to also put themselves into contention for the top four if they win away to Betis, while Athletic Club Bilbao also have a chance of qualifying for the Champions League.

Athletic face a difficult trip to play Real Madrid, who are still without Sergio Ramos. Madrid may be struggling for form as Zinedine Zidane continues to try all of the players in his squad, but they still have the firepower in attack to allow them to win matches even if they are not playing well.

Athletic have problems in central midfield where Dani Garcia and Benat are injured, while down the right flank the Basque side will be without defender Ander Capa and forward Ibai Gomez, although the form of Inaki Williams will give them hope of springing a surprise.

Finally Villarreal have the chance to put distance between themselves and the bottom three when they host mid-table Leganes.