Arbeloa prays Barca draw with Atletico

The defender hopes La Liga’s top two cancel each other out this weekend and hailed the form of Jese Rodriguez, who scored the second goal on Thursday

Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa admits he is praying for a draw between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona at the weekend.

La Liga’s top two lock horns at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday knowing a winner would move three points clear at the summit of the table, but Arbeloa hopes to see the sides cancel one another out as los Blancos look to close the gap to their rivals.

“Atletico and Barca are ahead of Real Madrid. We want a result that will allow us to continue fighting to catch up. If there’s a draw at the Vicente Calderon, that’d be best,” the Spain international told AS.

Madrid beat Osasuna 2-0 on Thursday in the Copa del Rey first-leg tie thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Jese Rodriguez, and Arbeloa had nothing but praise for the form of the latter, who was forced off with an apparent calf problem in the second half.

“He’s been doing tremendously well and we hope the injury is not serious. What he’s been doing is brilliant. He has to continue like that,” Arbeloa added.

“The 2-0 result is very good but we cannot relax in Pamplona [in the second leg] as it’s always complicated to play there.”

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