The thrills and spills of the international break have taken a back-seat as the La Liga takes centre stage on Saturday. The top three in Spain: Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona are all in action with each looking to garner as many points as possible from the weekend.
However, the tastiest clash from the weekend features the Catalan Derby between Barcelona and Espanyol.
Barcelona come into the game boasting of an enormous 10-point lead at the top of the table. Having played 28 games, the Blaugrana have accumulated 66 points with a healthy goal difference of 46.
Espanyol, on the other hand, has endured a sub-standard season with the club languishing in 13th spot after securing 34 points from 28 games.
Yet, Ernesto Valverde’s men would be naïve to take their Catalan neighbours lightly considering the feathers they’ve ruffled over the years.
Espanyol, meanwhile, would be looking to avenge their early season 4-0 defeat to the Blaugrana.
Date: 30th March 2019
Time: 15:15 (GMT), 20:45 (IST)
Venue: Camp Nou Stadium, Barcelona
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande
Form Guide (Most Recent league matches first)
La Liga Head to Head (since 2005)
Barcelona: 18 wins
Espanyol: 2 wins
Draw: 8 draws
Players to Watch out for:
Lionel Messi has been the outstanding player in Europe in 2018-19. None have come close to matching the Argentine’s numbers in terms of goals and assists. The forward has notched up 29 league goals in the La Liga whereas his tally of 14 assists is also unparalleled.
Though there was an injury cloud over Messi courtesy his withdrawal from the Argentine National Team, those fears have been allayed with him taking part in training recently.
Thus, one can expect Messi to be back at his best against the old enemy as he looks to solidify his position at the top of the scoring charts.
The Uruguayan has endured a topsy-turvy campaign this term with his awful displays often the subject of harsh criticism. At times in January and February, the forward looked out of sorts as his reliable touch let him down on numerous occasions.
However, recently, a switch seemed to have been flicked with Suarez turning in a string of accomplished performances.
Moreover, the forward has an enviable record against Espanyol as he has made the net bulge eight times and bagged four assists in 12 appearances.
Hence, one can look forward to another Suarez masterclass come Saturday.Published 30 Mar 2019, 13:27 IST