The home side have lost their last three La Liga fixtures to drop to seventh position, while Barcelona currently lead the pack on 28 points – and just one point ahead of second-placed Sevilla.
It hasn't been all smooth sailing for Ernesto Valverde's side this season so far, however, having registered eight wins, four draws and two defeats, though it is enough for the Catalan giants to claim first spot in La Liga.
|Game||Espanyol vs Barcelona|
|Date||Saturday, December 8|
|Time||7:45pm GMT / 2:45pm ET|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|beIN SPORTS||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live and streamed on Eleven Sports.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Eleven Sports 1 UK||Eleven La Liga TV|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||D. Lopez, Roberto|
|Defenders||J. Lopez, Duarte, Hermoso, Vila|
|Midfielders||Darder, David Lopez, Granero, Piatti, Melendo, Sanchez, Rosales, Alex Lopez|
|Forwards||Iglesias, Puado, Baptistao|
The likes of Naldo and Sergio Garcia are still recovering from injury, though coach Rubi does not otherwise have any major injury concerns.
Espanyol XI: Diego Lopez; Darder, Duarte, Iglesias, David Lopez, J. Lopez, Melendo, Perez, Roca, Sanchez, Vila.
Subs: Baptistao, Garcia, Granero, Jimenez, Naldo, Piatti, Rosales.
|Goalkeepers||Ter Stegen, Pena|
|Defenders||Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Miranda, Chumi|
|Midfielders||Rakitic, Busquets, D. Suarez, Coutinho, Vidal, Alena|
|Forwards||Messi, Dembele, Malcom, Munir|
Luis Suarez returns to the starting XI after spending time on the sidelines with injury.
Arturo Vidal also comes back in following a recovery from illness, though the likes of Sergi Roberto, Rafinha and Samuel Umtiti have all been excluded from the squad.
Summer arrival Malcom has also been sidelined until the New Year.
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Vidal, Busquets, Rakitic; Dembele, Suarez, Messi.
Subs: Cillessen, Vermaelen, Miranda, Denis Suarez, Alena, Coutinho, Munir
Betting & Match Odds
Barcelona are priced at odds of winning 1/2 according to bet 365 , while a draw is available at 10/3. A win for Espanyol is priced at 11/2.
Though Espanyol have been subjected to three straight losses in their last three games, they have experienced one of the brightest starts to their La Liga season in recent memory – and are in pole position to end Barcelona's dominance in the Catalan derby.
Messi and co have won 14 and drawn four of their previous 18 meetings against Espanyol, though another win for Barcelona on Saturday will ensure that their rivals will endure their worst derby run for over six years.
Barcelona have already lost twice and drawn four times so far this season in La Liga, dropping points in six of their first 14 league matches, but it is enough to see them occupy top spot in the league table.
Valverde's side won 4-1 in the Copa del Rey in the midweek against Cultural Leonesa to secure a 5-1 victory on aggregate, prompting them to progress to the round of 16, with their full attention now back on the league.
The La Liga giants have already secured qualification to the Champions League round-of-16 ahead of a meeting with Tottenham at Camp Nou next week, so Valverde can afford to name a full-strength XI for the Catalan derby.