Madrid, April 16: FC Barcelona go into a busy week which could end with their winning the Copa del Rey and moving to within touching distance of the league.
Saturday sees Barcelona play Sevilla in the final of the Copa del Rey in the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Ernesto Valverde’s side needs just eight points to be confirmed as this season’s La Liga champions if the second-placed Atletico Madrid don’t drop any points in their remaining games. Currently Barcelona have 82 points, while Atletico have 71 points after 32 rounds of games. So, if Atletico manage to win all of their remaining games, they can maximum reach up to 89 points.
Barcelona warm up for the cup final with a league match away to Celta Vigo on Tuesday night on what will no doubt be an emotional evening for Celta coach Juan Carlos Unzue, who was assistant to Luis Enrique at the Catalan giants until the end of last season.
Unzue’s side are one of only two teams to have taken points from the Camp Nou when they drew 2-2 in their first meeting this season and Unzue has tried to give Celta a ‘Barcelona style’ passing game, which has at times been very effective.
However, they have also shown that they have a soft underbelly and if teams are able to close them down, as Leganes did over the weekend, they find it hard to play the ball out from the back.
The need for fresh legs in the Barcelona side and Valverde’s desire to rest key players for Saturday will probably see him make some changes to the starting 11. Nelson Semedo, Thomas Vermaelen and Ivan Rakitic all have a chance of a start, while Paulinho could continue in midfield.
It will also be interesting to see if young French winger Ousmane Dembele, who conceded a penalty against Valencia on Saturday, will get a chance or whether someone like Denis Suarez or even Paco Alcacer could force their way into the side. There is little doubt that Barcelona will win the league title, the question is when they will win it.
With his side showing some signs of fatigue, Valverde’s task is to juggle his pack to ensure they continue giving their best.
Sevilla also play on Tuesday and travel to Deportivo la Coruna, whose survival chances got a boost with a 3-2 win in Bilbao on Saturday.
Sevilla are also starting to look tired, but with his side seventh in the table, Sevilla boss Vincenzo Montella also has to decide whether he rests his players when a defeat could put next season’s place in Europe in danger. IANS