09 December 2018
The Catalan derby between Espanyol and Barcelona at RCDE Stadium will see the two sides coming into the encounter fresh following successful displays in Copa del Rey during midweek.
After a promising start of the season, the Periquitos have been struggling in La Liga over the past six weeks. Espanyol boss Rubi is well aware he needs to seal up his team’s leaking defense. Not only they have lost four of their last six competitive matches, but the Blanquiazules have allowed a minimum of two goals in each of those failures. Determined to end a three-game league losing streak, the hosts hope they can hold the city rivals as they’ve managed in their last two encounters at RCDE Stadium. And they have every reason to hope for a positive outcome, considering they have won four seven out of the previous eight games in front of the local supporters, keeping a clean sheet five times in the run.
On the other hand, unbeaten in their last seven road games, the visitors are looking to post their fourth league victory away from home after failing to secure all three points three times on their previous four road trips. Ernesto Valverde’s major worry ahead of this match will be that his players have struggled to keep a clean sheet in five straight away meetings. A 2-0 home win over Villarreal last weekend has seen the Catalans keeping a clean sheet for the first time after eleven straight league matches. The Blaugrana have conceded more goals (19) than any other side in the upper half of the table, having allowed at least one goal in 11 out of their opening 14 La Liga encounters.
Provisional line-up – Espanyol:
Gk: Diego Lopez Defense: Hermoso – Duarte – Javi Lopez – Didac Vila – David Lopez Midfield: Sergi Darder – Granero – Hernan Perez Attack: Pablo Piatti – Iglesias Quintas
Provisional line-up – Barcelona:
Gk: Marc-Andre ter Stegen Defense: Pique – Lenglet – Semedo – Jordi Alba Midfield: Sergio Busquets – Arturo Vidal – Rakitic Attack: Coutinho – Ousmane Dembele – Messi
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