La Liga: Girona FC vs FC Barcelona Match Preview
FC Barcelona will be aiming to record a seventh win on the bounce when they head to the Estadi Montilivi to take on their Catalan rivals Girona FC on Saturday night.
The match will mark the first ever meeting between Girona and Barcelona, with the White and Reds enjoying their first campaign in Spain’s top flight.
The Blaugrana followed up their excellent start to the league campaign with an emphatic midweek 6-1 win over SD Eibar. They head to the Estadi Montilivi having scored 20 goals and conceded just twice in their six games since the Supercopa de Espana defeat to Real Madrid.
Date :- Saturday, September 23 // Sunday, September 24 ( in India, China, Japan, Indonesia and Australia )
Time :- 18:45 ( GMT ) // 19:45 ( BST ) // 14:45 ( ET ) // 00:15 ( IST )
TV Details :- Sky Sports Football (UK) // beIN Sports USA (U.S.) // beIN SPORTS CONNECT Arabia, beIN Sports Arabia ( Arab Countries ) // beIN LaLiga, beIN Sports Connect España, Movistar+ ( Barcelona ) // Sony Ten 2 ( INDIA ) // QQ Sports Live, PPTV Sport China ( China ) // beIN Sports ( Indonesia ) // Foxtel Now, beIN Sports Connect Australia, beIN Sports ( Australia ) // WOWOW, SportsNavi Live ( Japan )
Live stream: beIN Sports CONNECT // fubo.tv // Sky Go // Mobdro App // Sony LIV App // JIO TV App
Girona FC :-
Girona FC, who reserved the premium rights to dine with the best in Spain after finishing second in the Segunda Division last season, have five points from their opening five matches in the top league.
Pablo Machin’s side opened their 2017-18 campaign with an impressive 2-2 draw at home to Atletico Madrid, before picking up their first ever La Liga three points at home to Malaga before the international break.
Then came back-to-back defeats to Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla, but Girona did pick up a point in a goalless draw at Leganes on Wednesday night. As a result, a total of five points has left the club in 14th position in Spain’s top flight.
Girona reside in a respectable position in the bottom half, but they have scored just three goals in their opening games.
Tensions will run high at the Catalan derby, and the La Liga new boys will be desperate to make a splash against the region’s top side.
This weekend will mark a historic match against Barcelona, and it would be some story if the newly-promoted outfit became the first team to take points off the league leaders this season.
FC Barcelona :-
Barcelona stretched their 100% start to the new La Liga season to five matches with a thumping 6-1 win over Eibar at Camp Nou on Tuesday night.
Questions were raised when Ernesto Valverde’s side lost 5-1 to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup last month, but the Catalan giants have been in wonderful form since then – winning all six of their competitive fixtures.
Indeed, Barça started the new league season with back-to-back 2-0 wins over Real Betis and Alaves, before thumping local Catalan rivals Espanyol 5-0.
The international break didn’t play any spoil in Barça’s form as they drizzled three unanswered goals past Juventus in the Champions League in an outstanding fashion. However, Barça had to dwell hard to register a 2-1 win at Getafe on September 16.
As mentioned, Valverde’s side will enter this weekend’s match off the back of a 6-1 win over Eibar.
Lionel Messi scored his 300th goal at home for the Blaugrana in the 6-1 thrashing of Eibar, with the Argentinian icon slamming four past their opponents on the night.
The Catalan giants top the table on 15 points – seven points clear of the champions Real Madrid, who suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Real Betis on Wednesday night.
Real Madrid’s weak start to the season will have Barcelona eyes glancing down the table, and even at this early stage of proceedings, Valverde’s men will feel they have a big advantage in the title race.
Arguably, Barcelona’s first serious test of the new league season does not arrive until October 14, when they face a trip to Atletico Madrid’s new stadium. By that point, Valverde’s side might well have seven league victories behind them.
Girona FC :-
Espinosa is expected to return to the Girona XI after starting Wednesday’s goalless draw with Leganes on the bench.
Summer arrival Cristhian Stuani should retain his spot in the final third alongside on-loan Man City attacker Olarenwaju Kayode, although Spanish forward Portu is pushing for a spot after coming off the bench last time out.
FC Barcelona :-
Ernesto Valverde will be looking forward to the Champions League tie against Sporting CP and thus the Barça boss may rest his several players tomorrow.
Barça will be without Ousmane Dembele for up to four months after the young Frenchman suffered a thigh injury against Getafe.
Rafinha is also out and the midfield trident of Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic could be in line for a rest following impressive performances by Sergi Roberto, Denis Suarez and Paulinho recently.
Girona FC :- Iraizoz; Alcala, Muniesa, Espinosa; Maffeo, Pons, Granell, Mojica; Kayode, Garcia, Stuani.
FC Barcelona :- Ter Stegen; Semedo, Umtiti, Pique, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Paulinho; Deulofeu, Luis Suarez, Messi.