Higuain may be in top form but Cristiano Ronaldo's influence could see him sold, says Guillem Balague.
Last Updated: 16/03/10 5:24pm
We're set for another week of cracking action in La Liga, so who better to look ahead to the four live games on Sky Sports than our Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.
If you've got a question for Guillem, send it in here.
Real Madrid v Sporting Gijon
7pm, Sat, Sky Sports 4
There is a lot of talk about the interplay between Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo, especially after Real's Champions League exit to Lyon where Ronaldo complained that the Argentinean wasn't passing him the ball. I think it was a bit unfair to put all the blame on Higuain but it's definitely a talking point.
Even inside the dressing room they're two very egotistical players for different reasons. Ronaldo believes that once he gets the ball he can do anything with it, while Higuain is trying to earn himself a new contract but isn't viewed as a 'Galactico' by the board, so he has to prove himself in every game and plays for himself a lot. As a consequence I think Real Madrid will try to get rid of Higuain.
Espanyol v Sevilla
9pm, Sat, Sky Sports 4
What a great season it's been for Sevilla. Jose Manuel Jimenez is doing a great job there. At the same period he was at the club, Juande Ramos had already won five cups but I think Jimenez has had a tougher job, striving to make them a side that consistently competes for titles. And it's fantastic that he's been able to do so despite the large number of injuries and having play players out of position.
Valencia v Almeria
7pm, Sun, Sky Sports HD1 & SS1 (second half)
A big thumbs-up to Almeria manager Juan Manuel Lillo, who has proved that small clubs don't need to be overly physical in order to compete with the big guns. They are playing good football and have two pacy players in Pablo Piatti and Albert Crusat.
Credit must also go to Valencia coach Unay Emeri, who is currently top of the 'other league', the one without Real Madrid and Barcelona. Given the problems they have had this season and Emeri's inexperience, that's a real achievement.
Zaragoza v Barcelona
8.00pm, Sun, Sky Sports HD1 & SS1
Jermaine Pennant looks set to rejoin the Zaragoza squad after being excluded for a couple of weeks due to disciplinary reasons. I just wish that he would show more ambition. Zaragoza have signed two players who can play in his position and he should be going all out to show what he's capable of. He can cross the ball, is pacy and adds width to the side, something that Zaragoza don't possess on the right wing when he's unavailable.
Barcelona have problems of their own. They aren't moving the ball as quickly as they used to and they don't recover it as quickly either. The goals from Henry and Ibrahimovic have dried up in recent weeks. Henry proved to be crucial against Valencia and he has got to continue that level of input until the end of the season. There are still plenty of areas of improvement for Barcelona, even though they could still potentially have their best ever season.
Guillem answers your questions...
Got a question for Guillem? Then send it in here or use the feedback form below, and then look out for his answer next week.
Hi Guillem. I was wondering lately if Barcelona made a mistake in buying Ibrahimovic? He doesn't fit in with the team, I think Barcelona plays better without him, as seen against Valencia. Maybe he could play on the wing or something? Nothing is working for him for a couple of months now. I think Barcelona can't get anywhere if this mess continues (playing Ibra as a striker). As for another question, will Barca go on a buying spree this summer? Henry, Toure and maybe some other players will go away this summer. Defence is not doing very well, Vidic maybe the target (he denied any speculations). Jan Fink
GUILLEM REPLIES: It certainly doesn't seem to be working. He's scoring less goals that Eto'o and his body language suggests that he's not very happy at the moment. He's not very mobile and isn't providing Barcelona with what they need. His form has forced the manager to tweak their system a little.
But people should also remember that Eto'o is struggling at Inter. I think he has only scored around nine goals in all competitions this season. What Barca miss is the way Eto'o would aggressively put defenders under pressure, which led to them losing possession in dangerous areas. That's something they no longer have.
I think Barca will try to buy two from the Valencia trio of Juan Manuel Mata, David Villa and David Silva. They'll probably try for Franck Ribery but he looks set to go to Real Madrid, and also Cesc Fabregas.
LACK OF SUPPORT
Hi Guillem. Been a long time fan of La Liga and frankly, I miss the days when Valencia and Deportivo actually were competitive enough to fight for titles. Anyways, my question today is about Getafe. They have been punching way above their weight for many years now. But I always seem to see the Coliseum half empty! I know their stadium is small and yet they can't seem to fill it. Why is this and given this low attendance how does the club manage to balance its books? Thanks. Shush, USA
GUILLEM REPLIES: Getafe are a side with a small fanbase. As their manager Míchel, said they are punching above their weight and shouldn't even be expecting a top-eight finish. They'll give it a try but it's above their means and expectations.
The secret of their success is their chairman, Ángel Torres Sánchez, who keeps getting in players on loan or from the 'B' sides of Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Most of these players are experienced of the top flight, while the younger players develop and are sold to balance the books. That's something that isn't going to change in the near future.
Hi Guillem. Excellent column as always. With regards to the takeover situation at Man Utd, one possibility that has been aired is the idea of having a fan-run club like Barcelona. Do you think the scheme would work as well for Utd as it has for Barca? I think I speak for most Utd fans when I say surely it must be better than having the Glazers in charge! Ben Smith (Manchester Utd fan)
GUILLEM REPLIES: It's pure fantasy talk about Barcelona and Real Madrid being a supporter-run team. What you have is a club that is run by a chairman who gets voted in every four years - or in Barcelona's case every six years from this summer - and while the fans may have voted the chairman in they have no say on who is chosen on the board. That is down to the chairman.
I think what Manchester United want to do is become a co-operative, but I'm not sure whether that will work either.