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Espanyol v Barcelona: Valverde’s men to test impressive hosts in Catalan derby

Espanyol v Barcelona: Valverde’s men to test impressive hosts in Catalan derby

Espanyol and Barcelona will meet in the first Catalan derby of the season, which sees the home side in good form.

Date: Saturday, 8th December 2018 / Kick-off at 19:45 UK/ 20:45 CET / Venue: RCDE Stadium

Whilst it is true that Barca hold the dominance in this fixture of the years, winning 97 of the 168 derbies – Saturday evening’s game could see a surprise, given that the hosts have been in good form and the visitors have been struggling for consistency.

Espanyol have started the season well, but a recent slump in form has seen them slip out of the top six.

Rubi’s side have not won in three games and they will be looking to bounce back with a win over their arch rivals.

Barca have 28 points from 14 games so far this season but they have struggled to maintain consistent form and stop conceding goals.

At Cornella-El Prat, Espanyol have managed just one victory over Barca in their last 24 games, scoring no more than three goals in their last eight games against the Camp Nou outfit.

Team News

For the home side, Naldo and Sergio Garcia are both ruled out. Borja Iglesias is fitness free though and will lead the forward line, flanked by Pablo Piatti and Hernan Perez.

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Barca have Luis Suarez and Arthur back from injury, but it is unknown if they will be handed starts.

Nelson Semedo and Ivan Rakitic will keep their places after impressing in mid-week against Cultural Leonesa.

Espanyol possible starting lineup:

Diego Lopez; Javi Lopez, Duarte, Hermoso, Vila; Perez, Darder, David Lopez, Granero, Piatti; Iglesias

Barcelona possible starting lineup:

Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Busquets, Arthur, Rakitic, Coutinho, Suarez, Messi