Real Zaragoza vs. Barcelona: Complete La Liga Preview

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIIApril 11, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 17:  Pedro Rodriguez of FC Barcelona (L) duels for the ball with Apono of Real Zaragoza during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Zaragoza at Camp Nou on November 17, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Real Zaragoza hosts Barcelona on Sunday, and there couldn't be more contrasting circumstances for teams playing in La Liga this weekend.

Zaragoza knows that if two of the teams below them win and they lose, they'll drop into the relegation zone.

On the other hand, Barcelona is closing in on the title each week and would welcome a win to move one step closer.

The last time these two teams met, Barcelona ran out 3-1 winners with Alex Song scoring his first goal for the club.

Here is a complete preview of the match with the latest team news and projected lineups.


Real Zaragoza Team and Injury News

Coming into the game, Real Zaragoza sit only one point outside the relegation with eight games remaining.

They are on a poor run of form, having two draws and three losses in their last five La Liga games.

One of those draws came at home against Real Madrid, and Zaragoza will certainly hope to repeat the feat against the league leaders.

Zaragoza will have to deal with a few injuries and one suspension heading into the game. 

Left-back Abraham picked up a red card during the encounter with Deportivo last weekend, while there is uncertainty over the availability of key man Apono(via Betinf).

That means some changes will be in store for Zaragoza manager Manuel Jimenez.

Real Zaragoza Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1): Roberto; Cristian Sapunaru, Glenn Loovens, Alvaro Gonzalez, Javier Paredes; Jose Movilla, Jose Mari; Edu Oriol, Victor Rodriquez, Francisco Montanes; Helder Postiga


Barcelona Team and Injury News

The title is in Barcelona's grasp, but no game can be taken for granted heading into the final part of the season.

Having negotiated a tough game against Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona will have to be wary against a team fighting relegation.

The Blaugrana have won three, tied one and lost one of their last five games.

Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano are the only long-term injuries, and the club may be careful with Lionel Messi despite his cameo against PSG(via Betinf).

Despite the three days of rest, there may be wholesale changes for the Barcelona side.

Barcelona Projected Lineup (4-3-3): Victor Valdes; Martin Montoya, Gerard Pique, Marc Bartra, Jordi Alba; Thiago, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas; Alexis Sanchez, David Villa, Cristian Tello


Players to Watch

Real Zaragoza: Helder Postiga

Helder Postiga is Zaragoza's leading goal-scorer in La Liga, with 11 goals in 29 games this season.

He came off the bench the last time these teams met, but will be hoping to make an impact from the start.

The Portuguese forward will look to use his experience against Marc Bartra, and test Victor Valdes when he can.


Barcelona: David Villa

David Villa will be hoping to lead the line, and he can certainly do so with devastating efficiency.

Villa has eight goals and four assists in 21 La Liga games this season.

Barcelona will need a clinical touch in what will certainly be a tough game and, if Lionel Messi is rested, Villa will be the one to provide it.


*Unless otherwise stated all statistics courtesy of ESPN Soccernet