It has been a disappointing footballing season for Catalonia so far, with city leaders Barcelona trailing Real Madrid for the title and RCD Espanyol foiling at the bottom of the table. Tonight, Camp Nou will host the city rivals for what promises to be a deciding fixture – Espanyol will officially be relegated while Barcelona will call adios to their glimmer of still emerging out as domestic champions as the upmost.
Barcelona come to this fixture after a confidence-boosting 4-1 victory over Villarreal at El Madrigal. After discombobulating off-the pitch rumors circulating all around, Barcelona might have finally found a proper front-three combination to thrive forward.
For the clash against Espanyol, Quique Setien has named a 23-man squad that looks similar to the one that traveled to Villarreal. Frenkie De Jong, despite returning to training, is not a part of the squad.
The line-up is expected to be similar to what we saw in the previous fixture. With ter Stegen on goal, the back-four will include Alba, Lenglet, Pique and Semedo as Setien will be looking to keep the momentum alive. The midfield might see a switch between Vidal and Rakitic at the right, as Busquets and Roberto are likely to start after a good-enough performance against Villarreal. The front-three, as everyone expects it to be, will be Griezmann-Suarez-Messi again. Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati will be super-subs for Barcelona yet again, followed by Martin Braithwaite if Setien decides to rest another another forward for the next fixture. We might see Firpo/Araujo get their chances today as well, along with B team graduates that will be on the bench.
Barcelona are second on the table and have their morale high after a convincing victory over Villarreal.
Last five fixtures: WDWDDW
Espanyol have struggled the entire season. They come last on the table, and come to this clash following a 1-0 loss against Leganes.
Last five fixtures: DLLLLL
Barcelona win 4-0, front three bagging the three between them followed by a Gerard Pique goal (because why not?)