Preview: FC Barcelona vs Zaragoza (game 12 liga 2012/13)

Barça return to action with a league game versus Zaragoza at Camp Nou tomorrow evening (Saturday 8 pm local time) with the intention of extending the record breaking start to the season. After 11 games Tito Vilanova’s team have notched up ten victories and a draw while building up a lead of three points over second placed Atlético Madrid and eight points over third placed Real Madrid.

The international break or Fifa Virus has left Barça without Alexis Sanchez for four weeks but on the positive side Puyol looks ready to return which should hopefully see an end to the problems we have faced at the back in recent weeks. All the international players went through a mild training session yesterday evening with the exception of Messi and Villa who worked out in the gym, and Alves who didn’t get back in time. The players will go through a final training session this afternoon to prepare for the match.

In contrast to Barça, Zaragoza only had two players, the Rumanian right back Ionut Sapunaru who is suspended tomorrow and Jose Mari, away on international duty this week. This may have given our opponents an advantage in preparing the match but it also demonstrates the gulf between the two squads. In fact, since Zaragoza returned to the top flight in the summer of 2009 we have faced the Aragonese team six times and won all six, scoring 21 goals in the process while only conceding four. Curiously, last season’s Camp Nou game between the sides was played on the same weekend midway through November, also following an international break and before a Champions League away trip. Pep Guardiola started with Iniesta, Pedro, Villa, Busquets, Mascherano and Abidal on the bench that day but Barça still ran out 4-0 winners before going to the San Siro the following week to beat AC Milan 2-3.

This time we have the long trip to Moscow to take on Spartak on Tuesday so it would be no surprise if Vilanova wants to reserve a player or two. Victor Valdés should start in goal despite the recent birth of his second child. In defence it will probably be Alves, Piqué, Mascherano and Alba. Busquets is suspended so we will probably see Alex Song given another start in midfield, leaving the usual dilemma of who out of Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas sits out. I have a feeling Tello will get another chance on the left probably with Messi and Pedro as the other two strikers.

Despite our recent record against Zaragoza we should not underestimate our opponents. Since ex-Sevilla coach Manolo Jimenez took over the team midway through last season there has been a vast improvement. The achievement to survive relegation after being 15 points adrift was quite remarkable and despite a slow start to the 2012/13 campaign an improvement has been seen in recent weeks with four wins in their last five games including last week’s thrilling 5-3 win over Deportivo after being 0-2 down.

Possible starting XIs:

Barça: Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba; Fabregas, Song, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Tello.

Zaragoza: Roberto; Raul Goni, Loovens, Alvaro, Abraham; Movilla, Jose Mari; Victor Rodriguez, Apoño, Paco Montañez; Helder Postiga.

My prediction: Barça 3 Zaragoza 1

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7 Responses to Preview: FC Barcelona vs Zaragoza (game 12 liga 2012/13)

  1. Unfortunately, we have to think that Barcelona will concede 1 goal. My prediction 3–0

  2. Pingback: Preview: FC Barcelona vs Zaragoza (game 12 liga 2012/13) | birdmanps

  3. Nic my friend, this game will be a gun battle and damned is he who takes a knife to it. The nerves in my head are throbbing. The kind of tingle you get before a competitive race or before a big decision;that insidious but all invasive “je ne sais quoi” I felt right before the Sevilla game (where we barely won-some actually said we stole that win). Yes, this is not going to be as easy as we might think.

    Yes, we will have the Camp Nou on our side but I am afraid that we will have to be PERFECT to beat this team. We are going to have to be perfect in defense, perfect and faster in transition and clinical with our finishing for the opportunities we get.

    I was at the Camp Nou, during this fixture in 2009 when this Zaragoza team was thumped 6-1 (I believe keita had a hat trick that day) and, of course, we’ve since won a few more since BUT we have a different animal this time.

    We will be facing a team that is on an ascending trajectory in every facet of their game. They boast an absolutely “lethal” stricker in Postiga. Granted, they have some injuries and suspension in defense but we are going to have to be super careful not to be light with our approach to this game. To compound everything, Manolo Jimenez (their coach) knows Barcelona very well. This season the teams that have given us the most trouble are the ones that tried taking Messi out of thee game. So, look for very tight marking on Messi (possibly even man on full time marking with close support). If they manage to solidly defend on him then one of two things will happen:
    1)our backs will have to step up and create on skill and physicality, as in combine with midfield and run into space for a shot at goal or possible assist to the wingers and attacking midfielders. OR
    2) the ball will be turned over many times and we will be exposed to potentially fatal counters.
    The second option i what worries me the most. So, we need to go into this game with a great sense of urgency and score as early as possible and as often as possible. If we fail to do that then look for a huge suprise as this team is capable of turning this game into a dirty affair and walk away from the Camp Nou with a draw, if not all 3 points.

    ON ANOTHER NOTE: I think the same think applies to Real Madrid too this week end. A. Bilbao has a lot to prove to its fans, after the horrendous start they’ve had. what better place to do it than the Bernabeu!

    I hope I am wrong about Barcelona and right about Bilbao!

    Blaugrana al vent!

    • layibiyi says:

      the barca game looks to be an exciting game….hope the boys are focused, keeping in mind what the fifa breaks have done over the years

      As for the madrid game, i was really looking forward to it till de marcos n ander, 2 very key midfield players stupidly got suspended. The same fixture last year was really good

  4. Pingback: Preview: FC Barcelona vs Zaragoza (game 12 liga 2012/13) « Views From The Bullpen

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