by Tim Stannard
LaLiga's most in-form sides fight on Saturday to make the title race a true three-way titanic tussle at the top
On Saturday, life might look considerably chirpier for Barcelona than back in the days of yore of five-days ago, when the team were held to a 1-1 draw at home by struggling Cadiz and everything looked lost.
Or, it might not. Could go either way.
Saturday's LaLiga match-up between Sevilla and Barcelona definitely sniffs of the word 'pivotal' in the title stakes for the Camp Nou club. The game throws together the two teams with the best form in LaLiga with the Primera pair having won 11 LaLiga matches from 12 between them over the past few weeks.
Sevilla's run in particular has barged the team very much into the title chase with Julen Lopetegui's side sitting in fourth in the standings, two points off Barcelona and seven off Atletico Madrid at the top.
Saturday's game also throws together two contenders for top scorer. A fine run of form for Lionel Messi in 2021 - continued with a brace against Elche on Wednesday - sees the Argentinean at the top of the standings with 16 goals, but Sevilla's breakthrough star of the season, Youssef En-Nesyri, has racked up 13.
"On Saturday, we'll try to keep up our run, pick up points and put pressure on the teams above us" was the cunning plan announced by Ronald Koeman today, who also said that Roland Araujo was back in the squad after injury.
Barcelona are first up this weekend in the title-chasing trident with their match against Sevilla live on beIN SPORTS on Saturday from 10:05AM ET. Atletico are at Villarreal on Sunday from 2:30PM ET while Real Madrid have the rare experience of a Monday outing by hosting Real Sociedad.
However, Round 25 of LaLiga gets into gear on Friday with Levante hosting Athletic Club on beIN CONNECT at 3PM ET. Meanwhile a Ligue 1 lively one stands pride of place on beIN SPORTS today with Eduardo Camavinga's Rennes hosting Nice at 3PM ET.
Granada face Molde inspection in the Europa League.
The mighty Granada were gracing the front cover of Friday's edition of Spanish sports daily, Marca, and as well they might considering the side had just knocked out the giants of Napoli in the Europa League.
A potentially groggy Granada team would have been excitedly waiting to find out which team was up next in the draw for the Last-16 round made on Friday and the reward was....Molde.
How are you feeling after the #UELdraw? 🧐— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) February 26, 2021
Manchester United certainly got a sexier match-up with a double-header against Milan in what will soon become the Zlatan Derby - a game between two of his former clubs. More on Zlatan in a second.
The Sports Burst show will have a sneak peak at the Europa League draw and everything else out there on Facebook live at 12PM ET.
Zlatan tells LeBron James to stick to basketball
Erm, did Zlatan Ibrahimovic basically just tell LeBron James to 'shut up and dribble'?
It definitely sounds like it in an interview published with Discovery Plus where the AC Milan forward had life coaching tips for King James suggesting that the basketball player "is phenomenal at what he's doing, but I don't like when people have some kind of status, they go and do politics at the same time."
It's a celebrity tip that Zlatan has for all sports stars - "stay out of it. Just do what you do best because it doesn't look good."
So pack it up Marcus Rashford by campaigning to give free school meals to hard-up children, or Mohamed Salah trying to fight against Islamophobia, or Megan Rapinoe using her position to push LGBTQ+ rights.
Just stay in your lane, says Zlatan.