The beautiful city of Barcelona will be split into two when local-rivals FC Barcelona and Espanyol lock horns in La Liga this Saturday evening.
Barcelona, who are without a win in their last four La Liga matches, will be desperate to return to winning ways at the Camp Nou. Espanyol, who are currently level on points (17) with their decorated local rivals, are planning to spoil the party.
With club legend Xavi taking charge of Barcelona for the first time on Saturday, the Blaugrana will be looking for a dominant display. However, given Barcelona’s recent performances in the Spanish top-flight, an upset cannot be ruled out.
Before the international break, Barcelona surrendered a three-goal lead to draw at Celta Vigo. Espanyol, on the other hand, bagged a convincing 2-0 win over Granada at home.
The Catalan derby has produced some stellar matches over the years and we are hoping for something similar this Saturday as well.
Here are our top-five predictions for Espanyol’s trip to the Camp Nou in La Liga:
#5 Espanyol to go for the kill at the Camp Nou
Historically, the Catalan derby has been a fairly one-sided affair. Barcelona have always been the overwhelming favorites and rarely disappoint. This time, Espanyol are smelling blood and will do their best to make the hosts pay.
Barcelona have conceded 15 goals in La Liga this season, two more than Espanyol. Their defenders have cracked under pressure time and again and Espanyol will fancy themselves getting the better of Barcelona this Saturday.
Espanyol forward Raul de Tomas is a force to be reckoned with and could prove to be a handful for Barcelona.
The Real Madrid graduate has seven goals to his name in La Liga this season and will fancy adding a couple more this weekend.
#4 Injury woes to make team selection difficult for Xavi
In his first match in charge of Barcelona, Xavi will be dealing with a long list of absentees.
Sergio Aguero, Martin Braithwaite, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele have all been ruled out, while former teammate Gerard Pique remains a doubt.
The former Barcelona midfielder will have to depend on Luuk de Jong to join Memphis Depay in attack if he sticks with the 4-3-3 formation. Else, he could experiment and let Philippe Coutinho and Gavi flank Depay in the attack.
With attacking options few and far between, it will be interesting to see how the newly-appointed Barcelona manager deals with the injury crisis on Saturday.