Crunch time for Athletico and Falcoa at the Camp Nou

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Updated: December 14, 2012

Unbeaten Barcelona host their closest championship rivals at the Camp Nou this Sunday looking to dent their aspirations, and hopefully keep daylight between them and their bitter rivals Real Madrid who currently trail the league leaders by 11 points.

Barca have made a record start to the season with 14 wins from 15 games and while the reigning champions and traditional rivals Real Madrid have not been able to live with the pace it has been their neighbours Atletico who have made an impressive start to the campaign and trail the Catalans by seven points.

Athletico on the other hand have oozed quality this season with their line being led by the inform Falcao who hit five goals last weekend as Atletico demolished Deportivo La Coruna 6-0 and he now has 16 league goals.

With Real Madrid having already lost on 3 occasions and drawn twice they have their work cut out if they want to reel in the deficit.They have continued to stutter with Mesut Ozil coming to the rescue with a brace as they beat Valladolid 3-2 and then in midweek they lost 2-1 away in the first leg of a King’s Cup game with Celta Vigo.

It means they have lost six times so far which is one more than the whole of last season and the same number as in Jose Mourinho’s first campaign at the club.

They now take on Espanyol who are joint bottom with Deportivo La Coruna on eleven points and while new coach Javier Aguirre has been working on making them more solid at the back it should be a relatively easy game.

Fourth-placed Malaga face a tricky Andalusian derby away to Sevilla who are languishing in midtable due to a lack of consistency but they are generally tough side to face at home.

Level with Malaga on points are Real Betis who are one of the revelations so far and caused plenty of problems in the second half for Barcelona last weekend although losing 2-1. They take on Celta Vigo.

Levante are in the final European place and they have a difficult away game against Zaragoza who are solid at the back and have an exciting young forward line with Victor Rodriguez standing out.

At the other end of the table, Deportivo play Valladolid and third from bottom Granada are in action against Real Sociedad. With just a point more than Granada, Mallorca face Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna travel to Getafe.

Elsewhere Valencia entertain Rayo Vallecano.