Analysis: Four things to look out for in Spain's Matchday 25

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MADRID, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Matchday 25 in La Liga comes with FC Barcelona nine points clear of Real Madrid at the top of the table and just a week before the two sides meet in a key clash in the Camp Nou Stadium. Here are some things to look out for this weekend in Spain.


Real Madrid have struggled to score goals in their last three matches, being held 0-0 away to Betis last weekend, losing 1-0 at home to Barca in the Copa del Rey and drawing 1-1 at home to Atletico Madrid. The press have started to talk about a 'goal drought' and point the finger at Karim Benzema, who will miss out on Saturday with an ankle injury.

Real Madrid need to beat struggling Espanyol to keep the pressure on Barcelona, who have a difficult away match, and Espanyol have traditionally been a side that struggles (as do many) in the Bernabeu.

Although Diego Martinez's men have improved in recent weeks, they travel to Madrid just two points above the relegation zone and anything other than a comfortable win for Real Madrid would be a big surprise.


The good news for Barcelona is that Robert Lewandowski is back after injury and Gavi returns from suspension for Sunday's visit to play Athletic Club Bilbao. The bad news is that defender Ronald Araujo is suspended after being sent off in Barca's scrappy 1-0 win at home to Valencia last weekend.

The Uruguayan has shown he is vital to Barcelona this season, with his height making him key at set pieces, while his pace allows him to play at right back to stop players such as Vinicius Jr.

With Inaki and Nico Williams offering pace for Athletic in attack, Araujo will be missed for a game Barca can't afford to lose just a week ahead of El Clasico.


Sixth place Villarreal entertain fifth place Betis in a match that is important for both sides' hopes of qualifying for Europe next season.

The two teams go into the match after being in European action on Thursday night, with Betis thrashed 4-1 by Manchester United in the Europa League, while Villarreal drew 1-1 away to Belgian side, Anderlecht in the Conference League.

Both teams have top strikers, with Borja Iglesias effective for Betis, while the return of Gerard Moreno should offer Villarreal an extra punch that they have been missing for much of the season.

The Spain striker returned from injury last weekend and wasted no time in opening his account in Almeria and a fit Gerard could give Villarreal the edge on Sunday.


Real Sociedad's seasons seem to follow a similar pattern, with the side from San Sebastian having an excellent start to the season, before starting to drop away around the halfway point of the campaign.

This season has been no different with La Real looking comfortable in third place until their current run of just six points from six games seeing them drop behind Atletico Madrid in fourth.

Real Sociedad travel to Mallorca on Sunday after a 2-0 Europa League defeat away to Roma on Thursday night and it promises to be another test of their form.

Mallorca's excellent run of six consecutive home wins was surprisingly ended by Elche last weekend, but they are tremendously hard to score against and will be confident of getting something from the game. Enditem

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