In-form Elche set to host resilient Barca

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Madrid, Spain ( - Elche's impressive run of form will be put to the test on Saturday when the club welcomes second-place Barcelona to the Martinez Valero.

Entering the weekend in 16th place, Elche has managed to pull out of the relegation zone by taking seven points from its last three La Liga outings. The club has won back-to-back games, edging Athletic Bilbao before collecting a narrow victory over lowly Levante last time out.

Saturday's clash, however, will be a massive test for the La Liga minnows.

Barcelona dropped three of nine games to spark speculation of a crisis at Camp Nou, but the Catalans appear to be back on track after earning successive wins in league play and a narrow defeat of Atletico Madrid in Copa del Rey action Wednesday.

The Catalans even made easy work of Elche in the previous round of Spain's premier cup competition, dispatching Fran Escriba's side by a comfortable 9-0 aggregate score.

Elche will be eager to erase the lingering memories of such sizable defeats, but with Barcelona's deadly attacking triumvirate of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez beginning to find some fluidity, it could be lights out on the underdog's hope of a shock upset.

Cordoba is facing a similar situation to Elche ahead of its clash with Real Madrid at the Estadio Nuevo Arcangel on Saturday.

With two wins and a draw from its last three league outings, Cordoba is enjoying one of its better spells of the campaign.

But Real Madrid enters the weekend atop the table with 45 points from 18 games, aiming to replicate the opening fixture of the season when Carlo Ancelotti's men claimed a 2-0 victory over Cordoba on home soil.

Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, will be looking to regroup from Wednesday's narrow Copa del Rey defeat to Barcelona when Diego Simeone's men welcome Rayo Vallecano to the Vicente Calderon on Saturday.

Real Sociedad has not tasted victory since edging Barcelona in a 1-0 home victory on Jan. 4. The club has lost two and drawn two in the four subsequent matches across all competitions, a winless streak that La Real will be hoping to snap when it hosts an overachieving Eibar side at the Anoeta.

Rounding out Saturday's La Liga slate, Villarreal will aim to extend its league unbeaten run to 10 games when it welcomes Levante to El Madrigal.

Malaga is eager to return to action on Sunday after collecting just one point from its last three outings. So is Athletic Bilbao, which has lost its last four league games. The two sides will meet at San Mames.

Sevilla and Valencia have taken 13 points apiece from their last five La Liga matches, putting the two clubs level atop the league's form table. Separated by a single point, they will do battle at the Mestalla on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Deportivo and Granada will square off in a relegation "six- pointer" at the Riazor while Espanyol will go for a second consecutive league win when it plays host to Almeria.