Barcelona hoping to bounce back vs. Deportivo
Barcelona, Spain (Sports Network) - Barcelona enters the weekend in unfamiliar territory having lost three of its last four matches across all competitions.
While it should be noted that two of those losses were to Real Madrid, it is a poor spell that the Catalans will be hoping to put an end to on Saturday when they host lowly Deportivo at Camp Nou.
Even with the stuttering form, Barcelona has not seen its La Liga dwindle all that much. The Spanish giants have managed nine points from its last four league contests to remain 11 points clear at the top of the table.
But there is still a reasonable cause for worry around the Camp Nou as the Catalans have looked far less impressive under Jordi Roura, who is deputizing on the sidelines while Tito Vilanova receives cancer treatment.
Nevertheless, Roura remains confident in his ability and in the squad's quality.
"We hope it will be a better week than the one before last," Roura said. "I look at the players and I'm optimistic. This Saturday's game is very important for us, we have to keep the lead we have at the top.
"When things are going well, people are often just too euphoric - but when we lose, there is too much pessimism. For us, the league is very important and there is still a long way to go before we can say we've won it. We have to play each game as it comes along."
Barcelona could not pick a better opponent to face if it needs three points to get out of its funk. Deportivo is bottom of the table and has managed just two points from its last eight La Liga matches.
There is a distinct gulf in class between the two clubs, but that's not to say that the Blanquiazules are not capable of picking up a shock result. In fact, Barcelona only managed to escape the Riazor with a 5-4 win when the two sides faced one another in league play in October.
A victory would be a long shot, but Deportivo could be taking on Barcelona at just the right time.
Should Barcelona slip up, second-place Atletico Madrid and third-place Real Madrid will be hopeful of closing the gap when they return to the pitch on Sunday. Atletico welcomes Real Sociedad to the Vicente Calderon while Real Madrid heads to the Balaidos to take on Celta Vigo.
Prior to those matches on Sunday, Levante squares off against Getafe at the Ciutat de Valencia and Athletic Bilbao hosts Valencia at San Mames.
Rounding out Saturday's La Liga action, Rayo Vallecano faces Espanyol at the Teresa Rivero, Valladolid takes on Malaga at the Jose Zorrilla and Mallorca welcomes Sevilla to the Iberostar.
In Monday's lone fixture, Real Zaragoza faces Granada at La Romareda, and on Friday, Real Betis claimed a 2-1 home win over Osasuna.
03/08 17:32:01 ET