What better first post to do apart from a classico match than to preview the huge local derby between Barca and Espanyol.
No matter where Espanyol is sitting on the league, they always step up against us. Recent history suggests nothing different, as we drew 0-0 back on April 17th away at the Cornella-El Prat.
Expect a full 40,500 capacity crowd this Saturday, as Espanyol are flying high and are currently in fourth spot – despite losing last week to Athetic Bilbao 2-1 away. Espanyol has won all seven home league games this season while letting in just two goals..something which clearly indicates a home fortress.
Barcelona are also flying high – we have scored a whopping 34 goals in our last 8 games – an amazing 4.25 average while only conceding a lowly 2 goals..Messi leading the way with a ridiculous 21 goals in the last 14 competitive games. This team truly is special right now.
Despite Barca being all-conquering, we are only 2 points ahead of Madrid, who play Sevilla on Sunday. This game will be huge, Madrid are missing a lot of key players, including Xabi Alonso and Marcelo who are both suspended for Jose Mourinho’s side while Gonzalo Higuain, Kaka, Fernando Gago, Sergio Canales, Sergio Ramos and Jerzy Dudek are all injured. Lets pray for a draw at least.
Back to the clash Saturday. I don’t think there will be too many changes to the mix – I suspect we will lineup as strong as possible, being a huge game before the standard La Liga Christmas break. Espanyol don’t have any issues with their squad, and despite flying high no one truly expects them to take much out of this clash – something which I’m sure will only encourage them to put in a tough performance. A big encouragement to myself is Villa finding the net now on a regular basis, and looking like he is really blending in well now with the team. This game will be a big test before the break.
Barcelona: Valdes, Abidal, Puyol, Pique, Alves, Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi, Messi, Villa, Pedro
Espanyol: Kameni, Ruiz, Forlin, Didac, Torres, Verdu, Duscher, Osvaldo, Garcia, Datolo, Callejon
My Prediction: Barcelona 2 – Espanyol 0