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Primera División

  • 9 April 2011
  • • 19:00
  • • Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • Referee: Miguel Ángel Ayza Gámez
  • • Attendance: 70000
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Barcelona - Almeria Preview: Hosts aim to extend lead at top against La Liga strugglers

Barcelona - Almeria Preview: Hosts aim to extend lead at top against La Liga strugglers

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Pep Guardiola’s men have a firm hold in the league, and they'll aim to keep it that way at home to the side they beat 8-0 earlier in the campaign


PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Busquets, Adriano; Xavi, Mascherano, Iniesta; Villa, Messi, Pedro.


Almeria: Diego Alves; Michel, Silva, Acasiete, Luna; M’Bami, Bernardello, Ortiz, Piatti, Crusat; Ulloa.

Brescia



DID YOU KNOW?
  • Barcelona's form this season has been remarkable, and at present it seems that Pep Guardiola will threaten the 100 point mark. They've dropped only nine points this season.

  • On 16 occasions in league play this season, they have registered at least three goals, but they've dried up in front of goal somewhat of late, failing to make that mark in all of their last five matches.
  • Barca's 8-0 victory over Almeria is their biggest victory of the season - and their biggest league win under Guardiola.
  • Goalless in four club games, Lionel Messi is in his longest drought since last April, when he went five matches without scoring after striking the decisive goal in the Clasico.
  • Since losing to Mallorca on May 17, 2009, the Catalans have only been defeated in two La Liga matches.
  • Almeria find themselves at the foot of the La Liga table having recorded only five wins all season - two fewer than any other side in the league.
  • They've been particularly poor in the second half of matches, earning fewer points - they would have 31 for the season if only the second 45 minutes was considered - than any other team in the league after the break with the exception of Hercules.
  • Roberto Olabe becomes the club's third head coach of the season after Jose Luis Oltra departed earlier this week. The former Tenerife boss took over from Juan Manuel Lillo following the 8-0 home drubbing by Barca.
  • Away from home, Almeria have been sturdy defensively. Aside from the top three, only Real Zaragoza have conceded fewer goals than their tally of 21, though only 11 strikes have been mustered.


LAST MEETING


November 20, 2010: Almeria 0-8 Barcelona

Barcelona fired a Clasico warning shot to Real Madrid with a crushing 8-0 victory against hapless Almeria, whose defending was dreadful in a performance that ultimately accounted for coach Juan Manuel Lillo. Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta would both score in the opening 20 minutes before an own goal from Acasiete put the hosts in greater trouble. Further efforts arrived from Pedro and Messi made it 4-0 by the break. There was little relent after the break, when Messi would complete his hat-trick and lay on two goals for Bojan Krkic.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
17MaxwellDefender
15Gabriel MilitoDefender
3PiquéDefender
22Daniel AlvesDefender
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
6XaviMidfielder
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
-Bojan KrkicStriker
10Lionel MessiStriker
25Rubén Miño PeraltaGoalkeeper
-Seydou KeitaMidfielder
19Ibrahim AfellayMidfielder
21AdrianoDefender
7PedroStriker
7David VillaStriker
3Andreu Fontàs PratDefender
-Jeffrén SuárezStriker
1Diego AlvesGoalkeeper
14LunaDefender
18Santi AcasieteDefender
3M. SilvaDefender
29MichelDefender
8Albert CrusatMidfielder
-JuanitoMidfielder
15CoronaMidfielder
23Hernán BernardelloMidfielder
-Juanma OrtizMidfielder
17Pablo PiattiStriker
19M'BamiMidfielder
-EstebanGoalkeeper
-Michael JakobsenDefender
36Henok GoitomStriker
8Sofiane FeghouliMidfielder
-Kalu UcheStriker
22Fabián Andrés VargasMidfielder
Players to Watch
David Villa
David Villa
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Rather uniquely, Barcelona’s front three are in something of a slump at the present time, but the midfield as stepped forward impressively to compensate. Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola will want his attackers to start firing again, with much of the emphasis falling onto the shoulders of David Villa, who has uncharacteristically struggled in front of goal in recent weeks.
Santi Acasiete
Santi Acasiete
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 18
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Santiago Acasiete had something of a nightmare against Barca last time out, but he’s being relied upon to face them on this occasion largely because of selection problems in the visitors’ unit. The Peruvian international knows he requires a stellar game if the home side are to be quelled, and a repeat of his own goal last time again the Catalans would certainly be catastrophic.
Prediction
It’s impossible to predict anything other than a convincing Barcelona victory. A success of the magnitude of five months ago is extremely unlikely, but it would be one of the shocks of the season if they bottom club were to steal anything from the Nou Camp.
Editor's Prediction

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