Barcelona v Levante - Sunday 16.00 GMT
Madrid’s issues have come just as Barcelona have hit their best form of the season - Wednesday’s 3-1 Copa del Rey semi-final first leg win at home to Villarreal was their 10th on the trot in all competitions. Luis Enrique’s side have recovered from their own dodgy spell to become the form side in Spain, and maybe all of Europe at the moment.
Luis Enrique has no new injury issues for the game, but is likely to continue to tweak his side, with Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic likely to return in midfield after being rested midweek. Dani Alves is suspended so Martin Montoya or Adriano Correia will come in at right-back.
Levante ended a run of three straight defeats by surprisingly beating Malaga 4-1 last weekend, but they remain in the drop zone. Lucas Alcaraz’s side have tightened up a bit defensively on the road recently, with just five goals conceded in their four most recent away games.
But the blaugrana front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez look unstoppable at the moment. Messi in particular looks on a mission, and has notched eight goals in his last five La Liga games, to eat into Ronaldo’s lead in the ‘pichichi’ top scorer race.
Levante have shipped 12 goals on their last two visits to the Camp Nou, and lost the reverse La Liga fixture 5-0 in September. It could get ugly again for them on Sunday afternoon.
Predicted result: Barca 5-0 Levante
Best bet: Messi to score twice at 2.50
Celta Vigo v Atletico - Sunday 20.00 GMT
Atletico Madrid have also had a good week, basking in the enjoyment of their first La Liga double over their bigger, richer city rivals since 1950-51. The 4-0 result, and its manner, also returned Diego Simeone’s side as serious players in what looks another three-way title race.
Atletico remain four points behind leaders Madrid however, and cannot afford to slip up. And Simeone is without midfielders Arda Turan, Koke and Raul Garcia through injury or suspension, although last week’s goalscorer Saul Niguez should be fit to start. In-form duo Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic are likely to keep Fernando Torres on the bench.
Celta drew 2-2 at the Calderon during their super start to the season. A subsequent 10 game without a win has ended recently - with the team beating Cordoba at Balaidos and last Sunday getting a spirited draw at Real Sociedad. Young Serbian midfielder Nemanja Radoja is fit again, but the real key man is talented if inconsistent attacker Nolito - who has scored both his team’s goals in those last two games.
Balaidos fans have not been too entertained recently - just two goals for and three against in Celta’s last five La Liga games at home. So it will likely be tight again, but Atletico should nick it.
Predicted result: Celta 0-2 Atletico
Best bet: Total goals for under 0.5 [Atletico clean sheet] at 2.23