Match preview : Espanyol vs. Barcelona
FC Barcelona travel back to the ground on Wednesday night when they pay a visit to RCD Espanyol at the Estadi Cornellà–El Prat in the much awaited return leg of the Copa del Rey round of last 16 in the form of Espanyol vs. Barcelona clash.
This will be the third prior clash between the two city rivals in the duration of last eleven days, but there’s more at the stake this time — a secure berth in the quarter-finals.
They first encountered each other to a scoreless draw at Espanyol in the La Liga on 2 January. Although, a 4–1 victory at Camp Nou brimming with mastery in the first leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 dated 6 January, though, has given the FCB a concrete aggregate cushion heading straight into Wednesday’s rubber Espanyol vs. Barcelona match.
One day after shining in Monday’s annual FIFA Gala taking place in Zurich, Switzerland, Barça wrapped up preparations professionally on Tuesday and, on Wednesday morning, chief manager Luis Enrique named his squad for the Espanyol vs. Barcelona clash. The following men made the list:
Ter Stegen, Masip, Piqué, Rakitic, Busquets, Dani Alves, Arda Turan, Iniesta, Messi, Neymar Jr, Bartra, Mascherano, Munir, Sergi Roberto, Adriano, Aleix Vidal, Vermaelen and Mathieu.
Striker Luis Suárez is still out serving a two-game suspension owing to a post-game incident.
Luis Enrique spoke to the reporters following Tuesday’s workout session and explained with absolute clarity that his team’s approach would not change at all, despite the sizable aggregate advantage that seems likely.
“We’ll do the same things we did in the previous derbies, which is going out to win,” the coach remarked.
Barça are now undefeated in their last five games across all sorts of competitions, including four victories. The lone draw came exactly at Espanyol in La Liga almost two weeks ago now. But none of that really matters now, as protecting their confident 4–1 aggregate lead is absolutely crucial.
Espanyol have one win, one draw and three losses in the performance stats of their last five games. None of that actually matters either. On Wednesday night, the Periquitos require to score at least three goals while also keeping Barça from scoring their own.