Sportswizz previews and predicts the derbi barceloni between RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona played at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat.
The fifteenth week of La Liga sees the Blaugrana travel to their city rivals to play in the 169th Catalan derby. Following a comfortable win against Villareal last weekend and demolishing third division side Cultural Leonesa midweek, Barca start firm favourites against the Periquitos.
Having had one of their best starts to a campaign in the past few years, Rubi’s men have succumbed to three back to back losses in the league. As a result, Espanyol have slipped from their initial table positions. Their will, however, fight hard, especially considering this is a derby will motivate them to come hard upon the Barca players. The team plays compact football with a strong defense complimented well by the midfielders and a striker in the name of Borja Iglesias. Iglesias already has found the net eight times in La Liga so far.
Barca on the other hand are struggling with consistency with eight wins, four draws and two defeats, dropping 14 points in the league so far. Although they stand at the top of the table, this is not what the fans expected of them. Especially after a season where they only lost once.
RCD Espanyol: Naldo and Sergio Garcia are not available for this encounter due to their injury. Apart from them, there is no fresh injury concern for Rubi. Borja Iglesias is expected to lead the attack while Mario Hermoso is expected to keep Messi at his bay.
FC Barcelona: Luis Suarez and Arthur are expected to return from their injuries. The Uruguayan might make an appearance from the bench, however. Arturo Vidal is also expected to be available following his illness. Sergi Roberto, Rafinha and Samuel Umtiti are expected to remain on the sidelines due to their injury.
Espanyol possible starting line-up (4-5-1): Diego Lopez; Javi Lopez, Duarte, Hermoso, Vila; Perez, Darder, David Lopez, Granero, Piatti; Iglesias
FC Barcelona possible starting line-up (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Arthur, Busquets, Rakitic; Coutinho, Messi, Dembele