La Liga Preview: Barca face tough test away at Atletico

Updated: February 24, 2012

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Diego Simeone’s unbeaten record as Atletico Madrid manager will be put to its toughest test as they host Barcelona on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid have not lost in the league under Simeone and have conceded just one goal in the seven games since the Argentine took charge.

Despite beating Valencia 5-1 last week at the Nou Camp, Barcelona’s away record has continued to deteriorate, and Pep Guardiola’s side have only won once away from home in 2012.

Barcelona may be 13 points behind Real Madrid by the time the current champions kick off at 8.30pm, if Madrid can beat Rayo Vallecano away from home earlier in the day.

Vallecano have won their last three games but their home record leaves a lot to be desired, having won just four out of their 11 home games this season; Real Madrid’s form both home and away is imperious as Mourinho’s side have dropped just three points since October.

Valencia will be hoping to overcome their heavy defeat to Barcelona last week as they host Sevilla, who beat Osasuna 2-0 on Sunday.

Villarreal suffered a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Mallorca last weekend and the Yellow Submarine will need to improve their form if they hope to beat Manchester United’s opponents in the next round of the Europa League, Athletic Bilbao.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Granada will travel to Osasuna full of confidence after their 4-1 demolition of Real Sociedad last week, while Sociedad will host Mallorca.

Levante lost their long held fourth spot last weekend after a 5-3 defeat to Vallecano at home and the current occupants of fourth spot Espanyol host Levante on Saturday.

Espanyol’s 1-1 draw with Getafe last Saturday was enough to leap frog Levante into fourth and leave the season’s early surprise package down to 7th in the league.

Real Zaragoza couldn’t capitalise on their first win of 2012 after they lost 2-0 to Real Betis at home and they have another tough test on Saturday as they travel to Malaga.

High-spending Malaga continued their rocky quest for a Champions League spot last weekend with a 3-0 defeat away at Bilbao, as their inconsistency let them down again.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Racing Santander will host Sporting Gijon, while Getafe will travel to Real Betis.

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