Espanyol vs Barcelona preview

January 16, 2018
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Revived Espanyol will be looking to build on their recent uptrend in fortunes and attempt to surprise their bitter rivals in the Copa del Rey Last 8.

Barcelona, on the other hand, have been on fire of late, coming from two goals behind to defeat Real Sociedad at the weekend.

Widely regarded as one of La Liga’s most boring sides, Espanyol are usually only talked about when they play arch rivals Barcelona.

Los Periquitos have done well this term, creating an eight-point advantage over the bottom three, while they are not too far away from European positions.

Espanyol have been especially impressive of late, taking eight points from last four league fixtures and they now sit mere three points behind 7th placed Real Betis.

Having eliminated Tenerife and Levante from Copa del Rey, los Periquitos will now test their skills against mighty Barcelona, and they might have a chance of securing a positive result if Ernesto Valverde fields a second-string side.

Quique Sanchez Flores is expected to field a string side in midweek, and he will have Javi Fuego and David Lopez back from suspension.

Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Pau Lopez – Javi Lopez, David Lopez, Hermoso, Martin – Baptistao, V. Sanchez, Fuego, Darder – Sergio Garcia, Gerard.

Things are going really well for Barcelona this season, who have so far impressed in all the competitions entered, although they obviously need to continue in the same manner.

The Catalans are nine points clear at the La Liga summit at the moment, with Real Madrid already out of the title chase, so the league title is clearly theirs to lose.

The excellent run of results could have ended at the weekend as Barca were two goals down at Real Sociedad, but they eventually scored four goals to record yet another important victory.

With the Espanyol game coming just three days later, Ernesto Valverde could rest some of his key men, but there will not be too many changes to the starting line-up.

Nelson Semedo has failed to recover from tonsillitis, with Samuel Umtiti, Paco Alcacer and Philippe Coutinho also sidelined.

Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Cillessen – Roberto, Pique, Mascherano, Alba – Iniesta, Rakitic, Busquets, Gomes – Messi, Suarez.

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