FC Barcelona are on the back of a comfortable 3-0 win over CA Osasuna which gave them much-needed momentum in their title race. Barcelona, though, will not be resting on their laurels. Particularly because they haven’t done much this season to rest upon. Already 6 points adrift of Real Madrid and one Clasico already played, they have it all to do in front of them. Injuries and a nervy and fragile defence have cost them dear.
With the La Liga table packed at the top, there is a real possibility that another negative result will see them further down. And no manager will want that to happen especially when he has Messi, Neymar, Suarez and Iniesta on his team. Luis Enrique might not admit, for obvious reasons, but he must be feeling a bit of pressure.
They have already played out 5 draws this season along with two defeats, something we have stopped associating with Barcelona. But with the teams at the top capable of defeating each other this season, the Nou Camp outfit can’t really afford to drop any more points.
Espanyol are currently in the 9th spot and will be looking to thwart Barcelona. They will be ready to concede possession but the way Barca have defended till now would suggest that they can be put under pressure at the back. But Barcelona have dominated them with 24 wins, 2 losses and 8 draws till now and will be looking to prolong the run.
PREDICTED BARCELONA LINE-UP VS ESPANYOL (4-3-3)
Ter Stegen will be in goal. The German hasn’t been in the best of form and needs to step up now. His passing has been suspect at times and along with that his shot-stopping skills have taken a beating. Needs to be more assertive. Sergi Roberto will be at right-back. The winger has the backing of the manager but needs to cut down on his errors. Gerard Pique’s return has given them a huge boost and he will be marshalling the back four along with Samuel Umtiti. Jordi Alba will be at left-back and will look to stamp more of his authority on the game.
Andres Iniesta made a comeback and will be looking to start. Rakitic’s performances have been uneven till now but with Iniesta back, the trio of Busquets, Iniesta and Rakitic will look to dominate the midfield once again.
Neymar can make a comeback into the first team in place of Arda Turan. Lionel Messi will be on the opposite flank on the right side while Luis Suarez will be leading the line.
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