|La Liga 2014-15|
| FC Barcelona
||vs|| RCD Espanyol
ScheduleSunday, 7 December 2014 at 15:00 GMT / 15:00 UK / 20:30 IST
VenueCamp Nou (Barcelona)
Next Sunday, 7th of December 2014, Luis Enrique’s new Barcelona will measure forces with their neighbours and rivals of Espanyol at Camp Nou for round 14 of the Spanish Liga BBVA for an always interesting Catalunya derby that none of the teams want to lose.
Last round’s match wasn’t easy for Barcelona. The former European champions had to dig very deep to find a way to overcome Valencia at Mestalla last Sunday and they only managed to score their lonely winning goal already during injury time, thanks to a close range effort by Busquets after an enormous confusion inside the home side box. Barça had much more ball possession than their opponents, but it is fair to say that Los Che probably had the most clamorous goal chances.
Luis Enrique’s new Barcelona is still a work in progress but one has to admit that the team has developed a lot since the beginning of the season. Barça started the new campaign in great form, although two consecutive defeats against Real Madrid and Celta de Vigo raised some doubts about the quality of this new Barça and a few even went as far as pointing their finger at the Asturian manager, who they accused of not having the necessary skills to deal with a team full of big egos such as the Blaugranas.
The upcoming match against Espanyol will certainly not be an easy one for Barça, especially if we have in mind what happened last term, when the home side only won the match thanks to a single goal by Alexis Sanchez in the second-half.
For that particular match, Luis Enrique will still not be able to rely on the contribution of the Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen, who remains sidelined due to injury.
As for Espanyol, they have been fairly inconsistent so far this season and they are currently on the 12th place of La Liga’s table, with 14 points from 13 matches. After an important win over Levante last weekend, Espanyol grabbed an important triumph at Mendizorroza, where they defeated Alavés on a Copa del Rey match that took place last Tuesday’s night.
Former Espanyol and Deportivo midfielder Sergio González took the helm of the team this season, after having commanded the reserves’ team last term, and so far he is doing a very fine job, especially for a manager without any major experience at the Spanish football top tier.
The derby against Barcelona will be a challenge almost impossible to overcome for the team, but the Periquitos might grab something positive from the clash if they manage to produce something similar to what Celta did at Camp Nou so long ago.
Although Espanyol seem to be currently enjoying a positive moment, Barcelona are firm favourites to win the match, especially because they cannot allow to lose any more points if they don’t want to lose Real Madrid’s trail at the top of the table.
Stats: W-5 L-0 D-0
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Stats: W-3 L-1 D-1
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Barcelona (4-3-3) - Bravo - Dani Alves - Mascherano - Piqué - Jordi Alba - Busquets - Xavi - Rakitic - Neymar - Suárez - Messi
Espanyol (4-3-1-2) - Casilla - Arbilla - Colotto - Bailly - Fuentes - Sánchez - Cañas - Sevilla - Lucas - Sergio Garcia - Caicedo