Barcelona will have to cope without captain Andres Iniesta when they travel to cross city rivals Espanyol on Saturday looking to keep their La Liga title chances alive.

Iniesta is sidelined by a groin injury, but Barca will be boosted by the return of Neymar after a three-game suspension.

Barca are locked on 78 points with Real Madrid at the top of the table, but Real maintain the advantage as they have a game in hand.

Madrid are also in action on Saturday when they host Valencia.

During his side’s 2-0 shock loss to Malaga, Neymar was given a one-game ban for his two bookable offences. He, however, attracted a further two-match ban under La Liga rules for sarcastically applauding the fourth official as he left the field.

Aleix Vidal and Rafinha are long-term absentees while Jeremy Mathieu is doubtful for the Catalans against ninth-ranked Espanyol.

Real Madrid are without the injured Pepe and Gareth Bale for this clash. They will welcome back Sergio Ramos from suspension who is expected to replace Nacho at the heart of defence.

Marco Asensio and Isco are likely to battle it out for Bale’s spot on the left. For 12th-placed Valencia, Elaquim Mangala and Dani Parejo are expected to return as Joao Cancelo and Simone Zaza miss out due to bans.