La Liga Preview: Real look to go 8 points clear

Updated: January 13, 2012

The Spanish Primera Division gets underway again this weekend with Real Madrid looking to go eight points clear of Barcelona on Saturday before Pep Guardiola’s side play on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho’s Madrid side comfortably beat Granada 5-1 at home and they have another chance to put more points between themselves and their biggest rivals with an away trip to Mallorca at 7pm on Saturday.

The low that surrounded the Real Madrid camp after their 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Barca before Christmas was well and truly put behind them in the first week of league action this year, as Barcelona dropped two more points in a 1-1 draw with Espanyol.

Cristiano Ronaldo has received some criticism from the Bernabeu faithful recently, with the fans jeering him in their 5-1 win over Granada; Ronaldo’s response was to not celebrate his late goal in that game.

Mourinho will need Ronaldo firing on all cylinders if his team are to keep winning and they will also have to do that without Sami Khedira, who is out of action for a month with an ankle injury; click here to check out the match odds between Mallorca and Real Madrid from

Barcelona host Real Betis at the Nou Camp on Sunday in a bid to stay in touch with the league leaders after last week’s disappointing draw, but the Spanish champions will no doubt have one eye on their Copa del Rey quarter final clash with Real Madrid next Wednesday.

Barcelona’s home form is extremely impressive and the European Champions have only dropped two points at the Nou Camp this season, but Real Betis have undergone a resurgence and have won their last three games in a row.

Dani Alves and Andres Iniesta look likely to recover from leg and ankle injuries respectively to return to the squad for Sunday after missing out on Barca’s Copa del Rey victory over Osasuna on Thursday.

Third place Valencia entertain Real Sociedad at the Mestalla on Saturday after they dropped points away to Villarreal last week after a late goal from Aritz Aduritz gained a point for the away side.

Real Zaragoza have the chance to end a six game run of defeats as Getafe come to town while the remaining games on Saturday sees Granada host Rayo Vallecano, while Espanyol, fresh from stealing points off Barca, travel to Sevilla.

On Sunday, Diego Simeone will be looking for his first win as manager of Atletico Madrid as they face Villarreal at home; the new Madrid manager drew his first game with big-spenders Malaga 0-0 last week.

Racing Santander travel to Osasuna, who haven’t lost a league game since their humiliating 7-1 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid six matches ago, with the home team looking to extend that run this weekend.

Fourth placed Levante face a tough trip to Athletic Bilbao as Sporting Gijon host Malaga in Sunday’s remaining games.

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