Barcelona begins a new life under Xavi this weekend when the Blaugrana welcome Espanyol. The match schedules for Saturday at Camp Nou with kickoff at 11 pm.
Barca announced the appointment of Barcelona great as a coach on a two-year deal after a board meeting on Wednesday, with the club’s all-time leading scorer taking over from Ronald Koeman, whose sacking was confirmed last week.
Despite the disappointing start, there was still hope for Barcelona at this point, who had won their last game away to Real Sociedad before the Clásico, so a performance improvement could be expected.
However, the big-budget squad struggled to get results under Koeman and once again fell short of expectations. The Spanish giants endured another difficult night at the Camp Nou, with Real Madrid running out 2-0 winners.
Keen to regain their title as Spain’s most dominant club, Barcelona welcomes Espanyol, who finished in the same position last campaign.
All of the third-tier sides seem to have it in mind that they are looking upwards to the big guns of La Liga.
Espanyol has not been able to join in with this kind of thinking until recently, but since their promotion last season, they have adjusted to life back in the top flight in an impressive fashion.
In an exciting, pulsating La Liga season where nine teams are still in contention for the title, Atletico Madrid has done a bit of business that has underlined their intent.
Barcelona vs. Espanyol Head to Head
Both sides have 40 games against each other with Barcelona taking 26 wins while Espanyol with 4 wins. Here is a look at their previous encounters:
- Celta Vigo 3-3 Barcelona
- Dynamo Kyiv 0-1 Barcelona
- Barcelona 1-1 Deportivo Alaves
- Rayo Vallecano 1-0 Barcelona
- Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
- Espanyol 2-0 Granada
- Getafe 2-1 Espanyol
- Espanyol 1-1 Athletic Club
- Elche FC 2-2 Espanyol
- Espanyol 2-0 Cadiz
Barcelona Team News
There has been much speculation on how Xavi’s appointment will affect Barcelona’s playing style. Despite the club’s reputation of being extremely flexible, they set out in a 4-3-3 system in most cases.
Since November, Ansu Fati has been on the sidelines with a thigh injury, while Ousmane Dembele has been out of action since he suffered a hamstring injury in December. Sergio Aguero is still sidelined while Martin Braithwaite is injured.
Espanyol Team News
Espanyol is unlikely to face plantings to the same extent as last weekend’s opponents. There will be no new injuries to worry about either with Keidi Bare and Oscar Gil out through injury and Vicente Moreno not expected to make a comeback from a knee complaint.
Prediction and Odds
We expect a goal galore under new management to show Xavi a warm welcome at home.
- Barcelona Win
- Goals Over 2.5
- Most Goals: 1H