MADRID, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Real Madrid could well fancy their chances of ending Saturday night on top of the BBVA Primera Liga should results go their way on Saturday.
While Real Madrid have what should be a relatively straightforward home game against Elche on Saturday afternoon, FC Barcelona face a difficult away game against Real Sociedad in San Sebastian.
With the two sides level on points with Atletico Madrid, who don't play until Sunday, that means should Real Madrid win and Barca fail to do so, Carlo Ancelotti's side would move to the top of the table.
What must be worrying for Barcelona is that they have failed to win in their last four visits to Real Sociedad's Anoeta Stadium, with their recent game in the Copa del Rey ending in a 1-1 draw with goals from Leo Messi and Carlos Vela. While that was enough to see Barca go thorough in the cup, it would not be enough in the league.
Barca are also struggling under the influence of the 'Caso Neymar' which saw a Spanish Judge indict the club for supposed tax avoidance over the signing of the Brazilian forward, who is likely to start on Saturday night.
Although there is no reason that should affect the players or coach, Tata Martino, the case does seem to reflect a sense of instability around the club at the moment.
Martino will make some changes to his side, who should be confident after their Champions League win 2-0 away to Manchester City, and may choose to rest Xavi Hernandez and perhaps Jordi Alba with Sergi Roberto and Adriano coming into his starting 11, where Pedro Rodriguez could also be in with a chance of a start.
Real Madrid will still be without Ronaldo for the Elche game as the Portuguese striker completes the last of his three game ban following his sending off against Athletic Club Bilbao.
The good news for Madrid is that Ronaldo has barely been missed, thanks in part to the excellent form of youngster Jese Rodriguez, who has scored in his last three league outings and ho could soon be pushing for a place in the Spanish squad for the next World Cup.
With a difficult trip to play Schakle 04 in the Champions League next week, Ancelotti may rest Xabi Alonso at the start of the match but is unlikely to make widescale changes.
Rafael Varene may be given minutes in the heart of the Real Madrid defense, while Dani Carvajal will probably start at right back, but otherwise Ancelotti will field virtually his strongest available side.
Elche meanwhile will travel to the capital remembering the injury time penalty decision which cost them a point in their first meeting this season. Referee Muniz Fernandez was suspended after giving Real Madrid a for a foul which was actually committed by Real Madrid defender, Pepe.
The side which was only promoted to the Primera Liga this season, will bring several thousand supporters hoping to see their side cause a major upset.