Ernesto Valverde’s side had won all of their three preceding games before the midweek reverse, in which they heavily rotated their squad. If that pain is to be justified, they simply must come out on top Sunday.
Girona also suffered Copa del Rey frustration in midweek , with two late goals giving Real Madrid a 4-2 advantage through the first leg of their quarter-final tie. Can they back that solid performance up with another such display against Spain’s other superclub?
|Game||Girona vs Barcelona|
|Date||Sunday, January 27|
|Time||3:15pm GMT / 10:15am ET|
|Stream (US only)||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 will not be streamed via Eleven Sports 1.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|N/A||Eleven Sports 1|
Squads & Team News
|Defenders||Juanpe, Espinosa, Muniesa, Ramalho, Alcala, Garcia, Porro|
|Midfielders||Pere Pons, Aleix Garcia, Granell, Douglas Luiz, Portu, Borja Garcia, Carnero, Valery|
|Forwards||Stuani, Lozano, Doumbia|
Girona have a number of selection problems, with Johan Mojica and Borja Garcia the most notable of their absentees. On-loan Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts is sidelined along with Aday Benitez.
Girona starting XI: Bounou; Alcala, Espinosa, Juanpe; Valery, Pons, Granell, Porro, Garcia; Portu, Stuani.
|Goalkeepers||Ter Stegen, Cillessen|
|Defenders||Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Miranda, Gonzalez, Chumi|
|Midfielders||Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal, Boateng, Arthur, Alena|
|Forwards||Messi, Suarez, Coutinho, Malcom|
After giving his fringe players a chance to impress in the Copa del Rey, Ernesto Valverde will unleash all the big guns once more against Girona.
He is still without Samuel Umtiti and Rafinha, while Ousmane Dembele will also miss this match due to a relatively minor ankle injury.
Barcelona starting XI: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal, Coutinho; Messi, Suarez.
Betting & Match Odds
Barcelona are strong favourites to win, with odds of 2/7 at bet365 . Girona are long shots at 9/1, while the draw is 5/1.
Barcelona remain firmly in pole position to win La Liga, boasting a healthy five-point advantage over second-place Atletico Madrid.
However, they have proven themselves vulnerable at times this season and that was evident as they went down to a 2-0 Copa del Rey quarter-final first-leg loss against Sevilla on Wednesday.
Head coach Ernesto Valverde elected to rotate his team, with Kevin-Prince Boateng handed a debut through the centre of the attack as many of Barca’s stars, like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, were left on the bench or omitted entirely.
Valverde, though, made no bones about putting the league top of his priorities during a busy period.
“The month of January is the most complicated of all,” he said, reflecting upon the fact his team play nine games in 27 days. “The cup is important but getting points in the league is even more so. And we must also think about the future of the Champions League.
“We have plenty of players and should have enough to overcome these problems.”
He will be pleased that his side have avoided a long trip to Miami during this hectic period, with this match having initially been pencilled in as the first La Liga game to be taken abroad. Ultimately, though, it was scrapped in December due to a “lack of consensus”.
Girona, then, can expect their opponents to come at them with a full-strength side on Sunday. For the little club to the north east of Barcelona, that would be a test at the best of times, but particularly four days after a trip to Real Madrid.
For a period, it seemed an upset might be on at the Bernabeu as Alexander Lozano gave them the lead, but Los Blancos ended up 4-2 winners, putting them firmly in control of the tie.
Like Barca, they rotated their team in midweek, prioritising their quest for Primera Division survival. Twelfth in the standings and four points clear of the drop zone, so far it is going well.