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Primera División

  • 8 May 2011
  • • 18:00
  • • Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
  • • Attendance: 90000

Barcelona – Espanyol Preview: Catalan derby is the next hurdle for Pep Guardiola's men to overcome

Barcelona – Espanyol Preview: Catalan derby is the next hurdle for Pep Guardiola's men to overcome

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Having overcome fierce rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League in midweek, Pep Guardiola’s side are faced with an opponent based far closer to home

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Barcelona (4-3-3):
Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Puyol; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Villa, Messi, Pedro

There are still plenty of question marks in the Barcelona squad after the midweek draw against Real Madrid. Eric Abidal made his return to action, but asking him to play a full 90 minutes may be stretching things too much, while Adriano continues to toil with injury. Maxwell tends to be the other option in that role, but he too is struggling.

Elsewhere, big changes to the squad should not be anticipated, though if there are one or two weary legs from a hectic and demanding schedule, Guardiola will make alterations.
Espanyol (4-2-3-1):
Kameni; Galan, Amat, Rodriguez, Chica; Vedu, Marquez; L. Garcia, Alonso, Callejon; Osvaldo

Sergio Garcia and Baena both continue to miss out because of injury problems, with the former not expected to play again this season after recently undergoing a knee operation.

Joan Verdu had appeared poised for a ban, but his yellow card last weekend has been annulled, allowing him to feature.

  • Barcelona will know that Espanyol will not roll over in this fixture. Of their last six home matches in league play against their city-rivals, they’ve won only twice.

  • However, Pep Guardiola’s men have won three of their last five matches against their fellow Catalans, including a 5-1 success away from home earlier this term.

  • Incredibly, la Blaugrana have struck the opening blow in 30 of their league matches this season and have only been shut out once.

  • When Carles Puyol has been present, the Camp Nou outfit have yet to lose this term.

  • In the last seven league matches at the great venue, Lionel Messi (pictured above) has struck five goals.

  • Espanyol’s form in the second half of the campaign has been very weak indeed, picking up only 14 points.

  • Away from home, the Cornella-El Prat outfit have not tasted success in six outings, during which they’ve been held scoreless on five occasions.

  • Their tally of 42 league goals this term is dwarfed by Barcelona’s 89.

  • Barcelona derbies have been pretty feisty affairs in recent times, with three red cards in the last five.
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