Sanchez helps Barca edge Espanyol

Barcelona, Spain ( - Alexis Sanchez helped Barcelona edge Espanyol in a 1-0 victory at Camp Nou on Friday to bring the Catalans four points clear at the top of the La Liga table.

It looked as though Barcelona would be held to its second draw of the season when the two sides went into the halftime interval scoreless, but Sanchez struck in the 68th minute when he got on the end of a low cross from Neymar and tucked it home from close range for his seventh league goal of the season.

It proved to be enough for Gerardo Martino's side to march on to victory, bringing the club to 34 points and extending its unbeaten start to 12 games.

Espanyol remains on 15 points, managing just one point from its last three league contests.

Atletico Madrid will be hoping to restore the one-point gap behind Barcelona at the top of the table when it takes on Athletic Bilbao at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday, while Real Madrid will be hoping to stay within touching distance when it heads to the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas to face Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

Valencia has dropped three straight league contests and will hope to get back to winning ways when the club takes on Getafe at the Coliseum on Sunday before Real Betis attempts to snap its three-game slide against Malaga at La Rosaleda. Levante and Granada will wrap up Sunday's La Liga slate when the two sides meet at the Cuidad de Valencia.

Almeria picked up its first La Liga win of the season last time out, earning a 2-1 defeat of Valencia. The promoted side will look to build a winning streak with maximum points against Valladolid at the Estadio Mediterraneo on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Sevilla and Celta Vigo do battle at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and Osasuna heads to the Anoeta to take on Real Sociedad.

Monday's lone fixture in the Spanish top flight will see Villarreal take on Elche at the Martinez Valero.