Barcelona VS Espanyol LIVE Football Score 31/12/2022

Barcelona VS Espanyol LIVE Football Score 31/12/2022

Barcelona will resume their pursuit of the 2022/23 La Liga title on Saturday when they host local rivals RCD Espanyol at Spotify Camp Nou in the Catalan derby. The Blaugrana are currently at the top of the La Liga table, with a two-point lead over arch-rivals Real Madrid, although that could be erased by the time they take the field tomorrow afternoon. So, there will be no room for slip-ups for Xavi Hernandez & co. and they will need to hit the ground running following the World Cup break. Ahead of the match, manager Xavi has released the squad list for the game and the good news is that Barcelona have no injury-related absences.

Ronald Araujo, returning after a lengthy injury layoff, has received the medical clearance and is named in the squad. Fellow defender Eric Garcia was reported to have picked up a minor knock in training earlier today, but is fit enough to make the roster. The biggest boost for Barça, however, is the availability of star striker Robert Lewandowski. The Catalans have been successful in their bid to get a temporary hold on his three-match suspension and the Poland captain will be able to feature against Espanyol tomorrow.

Pablo Torre, Franck Kessie and Sergi Roberto, all of whom were injured before the World Cup, are fit and named in the squad list for the derby. The Word Cup break is over meaning it’s the return of club football for Barcelona. Their first match back is an intriguing one as they face Espanyol in the Catalan Derby.

The good news for manager Xavi Hernandez is he has every squad member available, including Robert Lewandowski whose three-match ban has been put on hold. Barring a late injury, Marc-Andre ter Stegen will be the starting goalkeeper. The German should be well rested as he didn’t see playing time during the World Cup. At right-back, expect Sergi Roberto to get the nod over Hector Bellerin. The former has recovered from his injury and is in front of Bellerin in the pecking order.

At center-back is where it gets a bit tricky. While Ronald Araujo also got the green light, he is not expected to start with Xavi taking a cautious approach toward the Uruguayan. Jules Kounde may also be given a rest given he reached the final of the World Cup with France. The midfield should be less tricky. Again, with the whole squad available, Xavi should have no problem making up the midfield trio.

Pedri and Gavi will start with the only question who occupies the spot in the middle. Frenkie de Jong performed well in the final games before the World Cup and his form continued into the World Cup. Sergio Busquets has been the go-to in the pivot position but Xavi may opt for the Dutchman who certainly gives him more mobility and the ability to cover more ground.

The big news for this one is that Robert Lewandowski is available to play after Barça managed to get a court in Madrid to temporarily suspend his three-game ban, so the Polish striker will be in uniform for this one. The entire squad is healthy which is great news, and Ronald Araujo is back in uniform after more than three months away with a groin injury. Barcelona will be looking to make it six victories in a row in Spain’s top flight when they welcome Espanyol to Camp Nou for the Barcelona derby on Saturday afternoon.

Xavi’s side are currently top of the La Liga table, two points clear of second-placed Real Madrid, while Espanyol occupy 16th position, just one point above the relegation zone. Barcelona have won 12, drawn one and lost one of their 14 La Liga matches this season to collect 37 points, which has left them top of the table, two points clear of second-placed Real Madrid.

The Catalan outfit have scored 33 goals in La Liga this season, which is the joint-most alongside Real Madrid, while they have comfortably the best defensive record with just five conceded. Xavi’s team were last in action on November 8, recording a 2-1 victory over Osasuna, with Pedri and Raphinha scoring in the second half after David Garcia had made the breakthrough in the sixth minute of the clash.

Barcelona could be second by the time that this match kicks off, with Real Madrid facing Real Valladolid on Friday night, but they will fancy their chances of ending the year top of the table. Blaugrana have been victorious in their last five league matches, conceding just once during that run, and their next La Liga game after this one is away to Atletico Madrid on January 8.

The Catalan side will be in Copa del Rey action against Intercity on January 4, while they will take on Real Betis in the semi-finals of the Spanish Super Cup on January 11. Espanyol were last in La Liga action against Villarreal on November 9, suffering a 1-0 defeat, while they have not been victorious in Spain’s top flight since a 1-0 success over Real Valladolid in the middle of October. The White and Blues have played twice in the Copa del Rey since their last league game, though, beating both Rincon and Atletico Paso to progress in the competition.

Espanyol will be back in Copa del Rey action against Celta Vigo on January 3, while their first league game of 2023 will be at home to Girona on January 7. Diego Martinez’s side are currently 16th in Spain’s top flight, having picked up just 12 points from their opening 14 matches of the campaign, which has left them one point clear of the relegation zone.

Espanyol have only won twice in the league this term, which is the joint-second worst record in terms of victories behind Elche, who are yet to triumph in Spain’s top flight in 2022-23. Periquitos held Barcelona to a 2-2 draw when the two teams last locked horns in February, but they have not beaten their Catalan rivals in Spain’s top flight since February 2009.

 

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