Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Co pre­pare for Granada clash

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Barcelona’s stars were out in force as Luis En­rique put the team through their paces ahead of their La Liga match against Gre­nada.

The Cata­lan side will wel­come the team sit­ting rock bot­tom of the ta­ble and will an­tic­i­pate a rou­tine vic­tory.

With Real Madrid two points clear at the sum­mit, Lionel Messi and Co know three-points are a must to stay in touch at this early stage.

The Span­ish cham­pi­ons have won three con­sec­u­tive matches since los­ing 4-3 away from home to Celta Vigo.

Two 4-0 vic­to­ries against Manch­ester City in the Cham­pi­ons League and De­portivo La Coruna do­mes­ti­cally were fol­lowed up by a dra­matic last-gasp tri­umph against Va­len­cia.

Granada on the other hand are on a streak of their own, hav­ing gone with­out a win in their pre­vi­ous nine league out­ings.

Barcelona’s dev­as­tat­ing front­line will be buoyed by this week’s news that Messi, Luis Suarez and Ney­mar were all named on the Bal­lon d’Or short­list.

The trio will be ex­pect­ing to have plenty of chances against the leaky Granada de­fence which has con­ceded 23 goals in nine matches.

As it stands, Sevilla sep­a­rate the two tra­di­tional Span­ish su­per­pow­ers with Atletico Madrid only one point be­hind Barcelona. All signs point to an­other thrilling race for the La Liga ti­tle with no room for er­ror against lowly Gre­nada.

Ron­aldo, Bale and Real team­mates gear up for Alaves trip

Real Madrid’s big guns are back in train­ing and ready to fire on all cylin­ders af­ter be­ing rested for their Copa del Rey vic­tory.

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Ben­zema did not play a part in the 7-1 win against Cul­tural Leonesa but are ex­pected to re­turn for the Alaves match.

Zine­dine Zi­dane’s side are sit­ting pretty at the sum­mit of La Liga, lead­ing Sevilla by one point.

They will be con­fi­dent in at least main­tain­ing their ad­van­tage when they visit Men­di­zor­rotza Sta­dium to take on Alaves who cur­rently lie in 13th.

Zi­dane will hope that de­spite sig­nif­i­cant al­ter­ations to the start­ing line-up, his team can con­tinue their goal-scor­ing ex­ploits.

In the thump­ing vic­tory against Leonesa, both Alavaro Mo­rata and Mar­cos Asen­sio scored twice to stake their claims for reg­u­lar first-team ac­tion.

Real to­tally out­classed their third-tier op­po­si­tion and even though there is still a sec­ond leg to be played, the re­sult is beyond doubt.

Alaves will need to be at their best de­fen­sively this week­end as Real have scored 20 goals in their last four matches.

The ab­sences of Luka Mo­dric, Casemiro, Ser­gio Ramos and Dani Car­va­jal have done lit­tle to im­pede Zi­dane’s resur­gent side.

Real have scored at least five goals in each of their last five matches against Alaves so will be ex­pect­ing an­other en­ter­tain­ing show­ing to­day.

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