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Barca, Real Set For Final Race To Summit

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After an international break, Barcelona and Real Madrid are all set to renew their battle for the La Liga title on Sunday two weeks since the Catalans defeated their traditional rivals in the ‘Clasico’.

That 2-1 win allowed Barcelona to open up a four point lead over Real at the top of the table.

Luis Enrique’s side will defend that lead against away Celta Vigo in an away contest on Sunday night.

The game will mean a return to the ground where Enrique coached last season. He also sees Barcelona face a side that produced one of the surprises of the season when they won in the Camp Nou stadium earlier in the campaign.

Lionel Messi has been the main headline maker for Barcelona during the week as an inflamed right foot kept him out of Argentina’s two friendly games.

However, on returning to Spain, the injury appears to have cleared up and Messi has been cleared to play after training on Thursday and Friday with apparent normality.

Sergio Busquets is also fit after recovering from an ankle injury which saw him miss the Clasico and the midfielder got some minutes under his belt on international duty with Spain.

Barcelona will be at full strength as Javier Mascherano returns to defensive duties alongside Gerard Pique.

When Barcelona kick off their match they could find themselves just one point ahead of Real who have a midday kick-off at home against Granada.

With Granada struggling to avoid relegation, it should be an easy win for Real who put four goals past Sunday’s rivals earlier in the season.

The good news for Carlo Ancelotti’s men is the return of James Rodriguez after two months out with an ankle injury and the Colombian looks likely to go straight into the side for Isco.

Meanwhile winger Gareth Bale will be looking to reproduce the form he showed with Wales a week ago. Bale has been under pressure from Madrid fans after some indifferent displays.

But without the pressure of the Bernabeu Stadium, the demands of Cristiano Ronaldo and a free role leading his country’s attack, he was back to his best for Wales in Israel.

He will be looking to reproduce that form in front of what is certain to be a full house on a holiday Sunday.

Sumon K Chakrabarti
Spanker-in-Chief of sentences (into shape). Sumon K Chakrabarti suffers from severe football-itis. Genetically modified by the Avengers in past life, therefore forgets that sleep is an essential part of parceled existence on Planet Earth in his homo sapien avatar. Supports Arsenal & Barcelona

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