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Primera División

  • January 8, 2012
  • • 20:30
  • • Estadi Cornellà-El Prat, Cornella de Llobregat
  • Referee: Javier Turienzo Álvarez
  • • Attendance: 35122
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La Liga Preview: Espanyol v Barcelona

The Catalan derby is upon us as Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino lock horns in league action on Sunday night


PROBABLE LINEUPS
ESPANYOL

Alvarez
Galan, Moreno, Forlin, Vila
Garcia, Verdu, Romaric, Weiss
Thievy, Alvaro
BARCELONA

Valdes
Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Messi, Cesc, Alexis

Espanyol go into the Barcelona derby with a number of players suffering from niggling injuries. Walter Pandiani is still a doubt as he continues to battle back from a sore thigh muscle. Javi Lopez may be out until next week with a bruised left fibula and Juan Albin is still recovering from the surgery he underwent in September on his right abdominal muscle.

There is still some concern over the fitness of Raul Baena who is struggling with a left quadriceps injury, but on a positive note goalkeeper Carlos Kameni is back in training after his hamstring problem.

Pep Guardiola only has two injury problems in the Barcelona squad; Ibrahim Afellay and David Villa remain long-term absentess and will be out of action for the foreseeable future. 

Victor Valdes, and Andres Iniesta returned to training on Thursday after sitting out the session on Wednesday.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • The last time Barcelona played Espanyol, Pep Guardiola's side won the match 2-0, with Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique both scored to seal the victory.
  • Barcelona's first La Liga match of 2011 saw them defeat Levante 2-1 at Camp Nou, with Pedro bagging a brace to see his side to victory.
  • The Camp Nou giants have scored well more than double the amount of goals that Espanyol have notched up in the league so far. Pep Guardiola's side have netted 50 times but their rivals have only scored 17.
  • Espanyol's entire squad has scored the exact same amount of goals that Lionel Messi has scored in La Liga this season.
  • Espanyol's last match saw the Catalan side lose 2-1 against Spanish Seguna B outfit Cordoba in the Copa del Rey.
  • Joan Verdu plays his former side in this match. The Espanyol midfielder was a product of Barcelona's youth system and even made an appearance in the Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk.

     

BARCELONA


Pinto
Montoya, Fontas, Pique, Muniesa
Sergi Roberto, Busquets, Thiago
Pedro, Rafinha, Fabregas

Players to watch

Joan Verdú

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Verdu made his first team debut for Barcelona in a Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk but did not make much of an impact at the club. The talented midfielder will have a lot to prove against Barca and he should aim to get on the ball and make things happen in the final third whenever he can.

L. Messi

Position: Attacker

Games: 8

  • 7
  • 0
  • 0
Lionel Messi was supposedly suffering from the flu during Barcelona's last match against Osasuna, yet came on as a substitute and lit up Camp Nou with a series of dazzling runs. If the Argentine is now back to full fitness for the Catalan derby, then Espanyol should be very afraid.

Editor's Prediction

Apart from a 5-1 victory for Barcelona against Espanyol in December 2010, the Catalan derbies have been relatively tight affairs in recent years with one or two goals usually proving to be the difference. However, if Guardiola's side are in the mood that they displayed against Osasuna in their last match, it will be a long night for the hosts.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Espanyol

Barcelona

Wins
0
0
5
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol ESP
Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol Espanyol
Draw
FC Barcelona FCB
FC Barcelona Barcelona
84%

Top 3 Predictions

Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol ESP
0 - 3
FC Barcelona FCB
Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol ESP
0 - 4
FC Barcelona FCB
Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol ESP
0 - 5
FC Barcelona FCB

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