FC Barcelona face Valencia in the Camp Nou Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a game which is vital to their title ambitions.
The last game before the international break could see Barca kick off five points off the top of the table if Real Madrid win in Bilbao on Saturday afternoon and as such Luis Enrique’s side can’t afford any more slip ups, such as last weekend’ s defeat away to Deportivo la Coruna.
That defeat could maybe be excused as a hangover from their Champions League triumph against Paris Saint Germain the previous week, but this time there can be no excuses.
Neymar is available again after being rested last weekend, while Rafinha and Jeremy Mathieu are also in contention following injury, with Rafinha the more likely started if Luis Enrique continues his tactic of playing three central defenders coupled with two wing-backs.
Meanwhile Leo Messi and Luis Suarez will accompany Neymar in attack, along with Andres Iniesta, who the Spanish press report has for the moment rejected a temping offer to play in China.
Valencia travel to Barcelona after having just about assured their Primera Liga future under caretaker coach Voro Gonzalez and have no pressure on them, despite two poor displays which saw them lose 3-0 away to Atletico Madrid and held to a 1-1 draw by lowly Sporting Gijon last Sunday.
Enzo Perez will return following suspension and many Barca fans will probably remember the challenge from the Argentinean which caused Iniesta to miss almost two months through injury following the first meeting between the two sides earlier this season.
Sunday is also a special day in Valencia given that it is the culminating day of the city’s ‘Fallas’ celebrations and the fact the kick off of the game has been scheduled to coincide with what for many Valencians is the key moment of their year has not gone down well with supporters, who have criticized the insensitivity of the league for their poor timing. Enditem