May 10, 2013 1:00 PM
Barcelona midfielder Jordi Alba prepares for trip to Atletico - and chance to clinch title If Barcelona want to mathematically guarantee clinching the Primera Liga title this coming weekend, it looks as if they are going to have to do it the hard way. With an eight point lead over Real Madrid and a game in hand, it would be enough for Barcelona should Real Madrid fail to win to away to Espanyol on Saturday. However, although Real Madrid's game away to Barcelona's local rivals is their last game before the Copa del Rey final against Atletico the following Friday, Jose Mourinho's side have been in good form of late, as shown by their 6-2 win at home to Malaga on Wednesday. With Espanyol having lost two consecutive games another Real win is a strong possibility, which means that Barca will probably need to win on Sunday away to Atletico, who on Wednesday assured at least a third place finish. It remains to be seen whether or not Atletico will rest players for the Cup Final, but everything points to them fielding a strong side with strikers Diego Costa and Radamel Falcao providing a real challenge for a leaky Barca defence. The lingering doubt for Barcelona is whether Lionel Messi will finally return to their starting line-up for the first time in La Liga since injuring his right hamstring on April 2.