Experienced head necessary for title run-in

With the Primera Liga season almost at an end, Barcelona's chances of retaining their crown hang in the balance.

After three consecutive defeats in April allowed the likes of Atletico Madrid and their rivals, Real Madrid, to make up serious ground on the Catalonians, Luis Enrique's men go into the final stretch of the season in the knowledge that they can't afford any more slip ups.

Amongst the likes of strikers Lionel Messi and Neymar, La Masia graduate Andres Iniesta will arguably be the club's most important asset. In an end-of-season run-in when 'cool heads prevail' (also see: 'squeeky bum time' and 'every game is a cup final' for more appropriate adages), World Cup winner Iniesta will be called upon by Enrique to lead his side to glory with the years of experience he has amassed.

But why will he be so important?

Whilst the bet365 La Liga odds have priced Barca up at 1/3 to win the Primera Division title at the time of writing, the recent performances of second-placed Atletico suggest that the Catalonian side will certainly need no less than three wins out of three to complete such a feat.

Diego Simeone's men have already proven their worth in the Champions League after knocking out Barca in the quarter-finals and then following that up by defeating German champions Bayern Munich in the first leg of the semi-finals.

It was just two seasons ago that the shoe was on the other foot and it was up to Atleti themselves to hold their nerve right up until the bitter end, with a perfectly timed final game against Barca at the Nou Camp deciding who would be crowned champions. In true Atletico fashion, a bullet header from a set-piece in the second half of the aforementioned game secured the point Simeone's team needed to finish the season in first place.

Barcelona final three fixtures:

Real Betis (away)
Espanyol (home)
Granada (away)

Against a Granada side fighting for their Primera Division lives, and similarly Real Betis and Espanyol who are some way down La Liga’s table, Barca can no doubt expect their final three fixtures to be somewhat laborious.

It's no secret that playing against a 'parked bus' has become a formality for Barca these days, with the majority of Spain's struggling sides having very little chance of getting a result unless they put ten men behind the ball. In his attacking midfield role, it will be up to Iniesta to help break down these stubborn rearguards and make sure the lead up to what should be Barca's 23rd La Liga title is as drama-free as it can be.