Preview - Espanyol vs Barcelona 4 Feb

Started by aaguerra90, Feb 03, 2018, 01:08 AM

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aaguerra90

Feb 03, 2018, 01:08 AM Last Edit: Feb 03, 2018, 01:11 AM by aaguerra90
Match Day 22
RCD Espanyol vs FC Barcelona
Sunday, February 4th, 2018
11:15 pm
Stadium: RCDE Stadium

RCD Espanyol:
Last six matches: L L D W W
Average goals per match: 0.8
Average goals against per match: 1.3
Top Scorer: Gerard Moreno ( 8 )
   
FC Barcelona:
Last six matches: W W W W W
Average goals per match: 2.8
Average goals against per match: 0.4
Top Scorer: Lionel Messi (23)

The Catalan derby. Two teams that despise each other. Having recently met in the Copa del Rey, tensions run high. Barcelona knocked out Espanyol 2-1 on aggregate, but Espanyol gave Ernesto Valverde his first Barcelona loss since August's Spanish Super Cup.

Barcelona sit comfortably in first place, 11 points ahead of Atletico Madrid in second. However, they had to come from behind to defeat Deportivo Alav├ęs at home last weekend. Espanyol is no pushover either, they always step up when they play Barcelona and have delivered mortal blows to the Blaugrana in the past.

Barcelona have Leo Messi on their side and the magical Argentine is firing on all cylinders. He and Luis Suarez are in fantastic form. The Uruguayan has managed to score eight goals in his past eight games.

Espanyol managed to stun Barcelona 1-0 in the RCDE Stadium in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie. Barcelona turned the tie around at the Camp Nou with a 2-0 score and went through to the semifinals. Barcelona were without some key starters in that loss, but don't expect Espanyol to be a pushover either. This is one bitter rivalry where both teams will be gunning for all three points.

Prediction: RCD Espanyol 1-3 FC Barcelona

aaguerra90

It was a rainy day in the RCDE Stadium, which lead to a sloppy match between Barcelona and Espanyol.

The first opportunity of the game went to Luis Suarez in the 3rd minute. He received a headed pass from Paco Alcacer, but his shot went wide.

New signing Philippe Coutinho made his first start for Barcelona today. In the 23rd minute, the Brazilian cut in from the left and released a viscous right footed shot that rattled the crossbar. It must still be shaking.

In the 26th minute Leo Baptistao picked Andres Iniesta's pocket in the Barcelona half and ran straight towards goal. He took a shot from outside the box which must have burned Marc-Andre Ter Stegen's hands, but the German was able to hold on to the save.

Luis Suarez tried his luck in the 43rd minute from a direct free kick, but his shot went slightly over the bar.

The pitch conditions would begin to hinder the game in the second half. From the kick off, Alcacer attempted to pass the ball back to a teammate but the ball got stuck in a puddle. Baptistao intercepted the pass and ran straight at Ter Stegen. Baptistao dribbled past the German and passed back to Gerard Moreno. The Spaniard slotted the ball in the net, but the goal was called back by the referee. The ball was ruled to have crossed the end line before Baptistao could control it. Goal kick Barcelona.

Leo Messi started the match on the bench, but was sent on in the 59th minute to try to shake things up.

It was Espanyol who would break the deadlock though. In the 66th minute, a beautiful cross from Sergio Garcia picked out Moreno in the area, which the Spaniard headed past Ter Stegen and into the net.

Barcelona desperately searched for the equalizer and found it when Gerard Pique headed in a corner in the 82nd minute, after which he put his finger over his mouth to signal the RCDE Stadium to be quiet.

The match ended with no more goals, but a few scuffles. Moreno took offence to Pique's celebration and fouled him hard after the restart leading to a lot of pushing and shoving. Messi and Victor Sanchez got into it as well a couple of minutes later. And after the final wistle, Samuel Umtiti and Sergio Garcia exchange unpleasant words and had to be separated by Pique. These two teams do not like each other.

Barcelona still sit first and hold a healthy lead over Atletico. A win by the Madrid Side would cut the difference to 9 points. 

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