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Primera División

  • 5 May 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes
  • • Attendance: 98772

Barcelona – Espanyol Preview: Guardiola set for Camp Nou swansong

Barcelona – Espanyol Preview: Guardiola set for Camp Nou swansong

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With both teams having nothing but local pride to play for, the focus will be on the Catalan coach, who will occupy the home dugout for the last time before he takes a sabbatical



Montoya, Mascherano, Puyol, Adriano
Xavi, Busquets, Thiago
Fabregas, Messi, Pedro


Lopez, Rodriguez, Moreno, Didac
Baena, Gomez
Weiss, Verdu, Coutinho

Barcelona playmaker Xavi has returned to training after a calf problem and may be fit in time for Saturday’s encounter with city rivals Espanyol at Camp Nou.

Midfield duo Sergio Busquets and Thiago Alcantara could be recalled to the starting XI after being rested on the bench for Wednesday’s win over Malaga, but Gerard Pique (concussion) and Alexis Sanchez (thigh) are unlikely to feature.

Jose Manuel Pinto is expected to continue in goal, while young defender Martin Montoya could be preferred to Dani Alves at right-back.

Espanyol will welcome back striker Kalu Uche, who missed Tuesday’s defeat at Granada with a knee problem, but Sergio Garcia (thigh) is a doubt, while right-back Felipe Mattioni and midfielder Juan Albin are both ruled out through injury.

  • With their 4-1 victory over Malaga, Barcelona set a new club record for most goals scored in a single La Liga season (108), beating the previous record of 105 set in the 2008-09 campaign.
  • The Blaugrana will play Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final in Madrid on May 25.
  • With his hat-trick against Malaga, Lionel Messi (pictured right) set a new European record for most goals scored in a top-flight season (68). The feat had previously been held by former Bayern Munich striker Gerd Muller, who had netted 67 times in the 1972-73 season.
  • Mauricio Pochettino's men are on a nine-match winless run away from home in the league (D5, L4).
  • Espanyol’s last victory over Barcelona at Camp Nou was a 2-1 success in February 2009.


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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
5Carles PuyolDefender
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
-Seydou KeitaMidfielder
10Lionel MessiStriker
1Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
22Daniel AlvesDefender
22Éric AbidalDefender
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
19Ibrahim AfellayMidfielder
-Cristian AlvarezGoalkeeper
3Raúl RodríguezDefender
15Héctor MorenoDefender
16Javier López RodríguezDefender
6Juan Daniel ForlínDefender
12Dídac VilàDefender
7Raúl BaenaMidfielder
40Vladimir WeissMidfielder
4Víctor Sánchez MataMidfielder
13Kiko CasillaGoalkeeper
2Jordi AmatDefender
30Cristian GómezMidfielder
35RUI FonteStriker
-Kalu UcheStriker
Players to Watch
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
31 28 2 0
The diminutive striker reached another milestone in his young career when he beat Gerd Muller’s European record of 67 goals in a season and, with three games still left to play this season, looks a sure bet to break the 70-goal barrier. Beating Cristiano Ronaldo to the ‘Pichichi’ award is also an incentive for the Argentine, who has scored two more league goals than the Real Madrid forward this term.
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
20 2 1 0
The former Barcelona player’s composure on the ball and wide range of passing will be vital for the visitors’ chances of pulling off an upset in the unforgiving surroundings of Camp Nou. The 28-year-old will need to offer support to the forward players and put pressure on the Barca backline, which has proved susceptible to counter attacks.

Barca will want to produce a final flourish in front of their fans and they should have little trouble against their local rivals, who have been poor away from home all season.

Editor's Prediction

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