It’s the Barcelona derby as Barca take on Espanyol at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat, hoping to close the gap on Atletico Madrid.
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Espanyol are without a win in nine consecutive derbies against Barcelona and have lost the last four games against their derby rivals without even scoring. Espanyol are currently in the 8th position in La Liga and will be hoping to trip up Barca, especially with the Catalan club having one eye on the Champions League. Also, the injury to Victor Valdes might affect the squad, a situation los Periquitos will be hoping to take advantage of.
Manager Javi Aguirre has no new injuries or suspension and is most likely to name the same starting XI as he did v Malaga.
Barca manager Tata Martino praised Espanyols style of play before the match, saying: “They generate pressure and make every game difficult. I expect a complex game. It’ll be tight, with very little space, and that’ll make us uncomfortable.” Barca won the last derby with a goal from Alexis Sanchez but will hope that after beating Real Madrid and Celta Vigo, that they win another game on the bounce.
Barca will be without first choice keeper Victor Valdes who seems to have played his last game for the club after injuring his ACL. Gerard Pique is expected to make his return to the squad after missing the victory over Celta.
Espanyol: Casilla; Javi Lopez, Sidnei, Moreno, Fuentes; Sanchez, David Lopez, Torje, Stuani; Abraham, Sergio Garcia.
Barcelona: Pinto; Adriano, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Iniesta, Fabregas, Song, Pedro; Messi, Neymar.