La Liga Preview: Barca look to improve away form

Updated: January 27, 2012

Click here for the latest odds to win the Primera Division from Betfair

The Primera Division is back in action after an exciting midweek of Copa del Rey fixtures, as Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid travel to bottom side Real Zaragoza on Saturday.

The league leaders regained some dignity and pride after their 2-2 draw with Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Wednesday but were still knocked out of the cup 4-3 on aggregate after Barca’s 2-1 win at the Bernabeu.

Real looked sharper and more hungry than Barcelona in that game but it is back to the grindstone on Saturday for Mourinho’s charges, as they can stretch their lead to eight points over their rivals at the top of the table, if only for a few hours.

It’s a relatively easy game on paper for Madrid as they welcome strugglers Zaragoza to the Bernabeu, who haven’t won an away game all season. Click here for the latest odds on Real Madrid v Real Zaragoza from Betfair

Barcelona face a tough trip to Villarreal and despite the Yellow Submarine struggling this season and currently lying in 17th place in the league, Barcelona’s away record leaves a lot to be desired by the champions high standards. Click here for the latest odds on Villarreal v Barcelona from Betfair

Pep Guardiola’s side have won less than half their away games in the league this season and will have to try to get a result at El Madrigal without Andres Iniesta after the Spanish midfielder was ruled out for three weeks with a hamstring injury, picked up in his sides’ draw with Real during the week.

The dynamic attacking midfielder’s absence will be felt even more than usual following the news that summer signing Alexis Sanchez will also miss the trip to Villarreal with a shoulder injury sustained in the same match against Madrid.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Espanyol can reach fourth in the table with a win over Mallorca at home while Rayo Vallecano entertain Athletic Bilbao.

Sunday sees Valencia travelling to Racing Santander following their midweek 3-0 victory over Levante in the Copa del Rey to set up a semi-final with Barcelona.

Valencia could only draw with Osasuna last week following their Copa del Rey first leg and a similar hangover is a possibility.

Malaga can overtake Sevilla in 9th place with a home win on Sunday night as Sevilla’s away record is poor, with just one victory away from home.

Real Betis got over their defeat to Barcelona two weeks ago with a draw in the Seville derby last Saturday and they can get back to winning ways with three points against Granada in the early kick-off on Sunday morning.

Elsewhere on Sunday, fourth-placed Levante will host Getafe while Sporting Gijon travel to Real Sociedad; Diego Simeone faces a tough away trip to Osasuna on Monday night.

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