MADRID, Spain, December 5 – Barcelona star Cesc Fabregas insisted on Sunday that his team will not fear Real Madrid when the first El Clasico meeting of the season takes place at the Bernabeu next weekend.
Spanish and European champions Barcelona trail their bitter rivals by three points at the top of La Liga and have played a game more.
But ex-Arsenal skipper Fabregas believes a victory will be the perfect send-off before they head to Japan for the Club World Cup.
“We’ll go at them at the Bernabeu with our usual game and without any fear. If we worry about what could happen, they are capable of being very dangerous, especially at home with their own fans behind them,” he said.
“The spirit in the camp is great and we are definitely brave enough to leave Madrid with a result and that would set us up nicely for the Club World Cup in Japan.”
Fabregas, who scored twice in Barca’s 5-0 demolition of Levante on Saturday, also told Barca TV how much a positive result in a Madrid-Barcelona game can change a season.
“We have to remember that a Clasico is very often the turning point in a season, so we’ll go all-out to win and we’ll not be afraid,” he said.
On his own form, the Spain international was clear on why he has managed to hit nine goals so far this season.
“My team-mates are great, they have helped me a lot with my own game and at Barca I am able to get into a lot of forward positions in the area, which has enabled me to get those goals,” he said.
On Saturday, Real Madrid defeated Sporting Gijon 3-0 to stretch their winning run to 14 games in all competitions while Valencia stayed in third place, four points behind Barcelona, after Roberto Soldado came off the bench to notch the winner in a 2-1 home win over Espanyol.
Sunday’s action saw on-loan Arsenal striker Carlos Vela hit a spectacular late goal as Real Sociedad scored twice in the last two minutes to snatch a 3-2 win over Malaga.
Malaga had led 2-1 when Mexican star Vela hit the target with an overhead kick in the 89th minute before Uruguayan John Ifran grabbed the winner in injury time.
The win moved Sociedad up to 13th position and eased mounting pressure on Sociedad’s French coach Phillippe Montanier after a run of bad results.
In an action-packed game, Sociedad were fortunate to take the lead on 10 minutes when Malaga defender Martin Dimechelis could not avoid bundling the ball into his own net after Imanol Agirretxe had crashed a header onto the crossbar.
Malaga then came back with goals from Jose Rondon on 19 minutes and Seba Fernandez on 58 minutes that seemed to have taken the points to the Costa del Sol before the game’s dramatic conclusion.
Atletico Madrid’s 40-million-euro ($53.6m) striker Falcao hit his eighth goal of the season as his side kept up their push for a European place with a 3-1 win over neighbours Rayo Vallecano.
Gabriel Fernandez opened the scoring with a clever chip on 35 minutes before second-half goals from Falcao, who signed from Porto in the summer, and Salvio sealed the win.
Granada beat Zaragoza 1-0 with a goal from Odion Ighalo on the stroke of half-time in a bottom of the table clash.
Nigerian Ighalo, on loan from Italian side Udinese, was quickest to react in a packed penalty area on 45 minutes to a right wing cross from Mikel Rico to steer the ball home for a vital and deserved win.
The three points moves the promoted Andalusian team to 12th position, their highest of the season, and leaves Zaragoza rock-bottom of La Liga, two points adrift of Sporting Gijon and Racing Santander.
Osasuna gained a hard fought 2-1 home win over Betis thanks to a curling free-kick from Iranian midfielder Javad Nekounam with the last kick of the match.