Real Madrid will be bidding to strengthen their already-firm grip on first position in the La Liga table when they make the trip to Estadio Ramon to face Sevilla on Sunday night.
Los Blancos are 12 points clear of second-placed Barcelona at the summit, while they are also 12 ahead of third-placed Sevilla, who are battling to remain in the top four at a key stage of the season.
In February, Sevilla were staying in touch with Real Madrid in the La Liga table, but a four-game winless run between March 4 and April 3 effectively ended their hopes of winning the title, and they are now in a battle to secure a top-four position.
Julen Lopetegui’s side managed to record a huge 4-2 victory over Granada last Friday, with Rafa Mir and Alejandro Gomez coming off the bench to score in stoppage time, and the result, coupled with a defeat for Atletico Madrid, left them in third spot in the table on 60 points.
Sevilla are level on points with second-placed Barcelona but sit just four points ahead of fifth-placed Real Betis, while Real Sociedad are also in the argument for a top-four finish this season, so there is certainly pressure on Los Nervionenses to continue picking up points.
Rojiblancos have not actually finished higher than fourth in La Liga since 2009, so third would be a huge achievement, but they disappointingly exited the Europa League at the last-16 stage, losing to West Ham United over two legs.
Sevilla’s home form this season has been excellent, picking up 37 points from their 15 league matches, remaining unbeaten in the process, but they will be welcoming a Real Madrid team with the best away record in Spain’s top flight this term, claiming 35 points from their 15 fixtures.
Real Madrid lost 3-2 to Chelsea in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday evening but managed to progress to the semi-finals courtesy of a 5-4 aggregate success, with Karim Benzema’s 96th-minute effort at Bernabeu proving to be the deciding goal.
Los Blancos will take on Manchester City in the semi-finals of the competition, and the fact that they are in such a commanding position at the top of the La Liga table should hand them an advantage in their pursuit of European glory.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side have recorded back-to-back league wins over Celta Vigo and Getafe since the Clasico defeat before the international break, and they sit at the top of the division with 72 points.
Real Madrid are 12 points clear of second-placed Barcelona, who have a game in hand, and it is difficult to imagine them dropping enough points over the next few weeks to allow others back into the race.
The Whites will take on Osasuna and Espanyol in their final two league games in April before facing Atletico Madrid, Levante, Cadiz and Real Betis in May, and it could be a famous campaign for the capital giants, as they bid to make it a La Liga and Champions League double.
Sevilla La Liga form:
Sevilla form (all competitions):
Real Madrid La Liga form:
Real Madrid form (all competitions):
We say: Sevilla 1-1 Real Madrid
Real Madrid have been victorious on their last two league visits to Estadio Ramon, but Sevilla have not lost a single home La Liga fixture this term, and we are finding it difficult to back Los Blancos with any serious confidence despite their position at the summit, ultimately settling on a low-scoring draw.