Here at Barca Blaugranes, we like to bring you joint previews for every game. As promised, here's the second part of our preview for the match versus Espanyol at the weekend.
In case you missed the first part, click here
Thankfully Ivan de la Pena cannot play. Which Espanyol player do you rate highest?
Paul Udani: I haven't watched Espanyol enough to know if the Little Buddha still plays, if not, that's a shame. If he's not there, the Espanyol player I rate highest is Luis Garcia. He's only scored 3 goals this year, but he seems to be a constant danger whenever he plays.
Adi-Oula Sebastian: No comment
Bostjan Cernensek: De la Pena isn't playing because of a long term leg injury, which has him pondering retirement (for a year now), but he is still on Espanyol's official roster.
I would rate José María Callejón the highest. He's Real Madrid's product, but he has found a place in Barcelona and he has been doing a great job as a winger for Espanyol. He can score, he can pass, he can dribble, he helps out on defense. Basically, he makes everybody on the team better.
Jose Avila: Kameni.
Gabriel Roberts: Haha thankfully indeed. De la Pena is actually still on the first team, but he hasn't played much this year, and won't terrorize the Camp Nou tomorrow. I haven't seen a single Espanyol game this season, but Kameni is a world class keeper.
Arron Duckling: I’m surprised no-one else mentioned him, but Osvaldo is the guy to watch out for. He has 11 La Liga goals to his name, and will want to add to his tally tomorrow night.
Shehryar Khan: I haven't been watching Espanyol much this season so I'll pass that one.
Personally, I thought Abidal's appearance was surprising, but hugely inspirational. Can you think of a better individual in the history of FC Barcelona?
BC: I was shocked Abidal came back so soon and I have to applaud Guardiola as he handled Abidal's comeback perfectly. Every Culé was psyched to see the Frenchman back and, while he wasn't fully ready, the added time substitution was a thing of beauty. It brought tears to the eyes of numerous Barcelona fans around the world. I personally can't remember any story in Barcelona's history that would be as moving as Abi's story is.
GR: Good point -- I cannot. I love Abidal. He's a class act, and has made Barcelona his home. He once said that he would retire if Barcelona didn't renew his contract. I'll be sad when he's gone.
PU: Well, let's not canonize Abidal yet. I'll say this, it has been the most inspirational story I've seen in FC Barcelona's history. Couldn't have happened to a better guy.
SK: Yes, Pep Guardiola himself!
AOS: That’s easy, Carles Puyol.
AD: Abidal is an inspiration to us all. To return from a potentially life-threatening injury so soon is nothing short of miraculous. When the news came out, I thought it would be the last we would see of Abidal in a Blaugrana shirt, but I was so glad to be proven wrong. While there will be better players, there is no better example, as Puyol said himself, “Only with his strength could he prevail.”
Match Prediction? (Can include possible XIs, scorers etc)
AOS: I expect an intense derby with goals on both sides, a 2-1 victory for the Blaugrana with goals from Lionel Messi and David Villa.
AD: Well, Barca will go all-out for the win, and I can’t see Espanyol getting anything out of it. 3-0 Barcelona with 2 goals from Messi, and 1 from Iniesta.
SK: 3-1 to Barcelona, David Villa to break his goal drought. If he doesn't start, Afellay to score.
GR: I'm bound to get one of these right sooner or later. Barcelona scores first, Espanyol equalizes, Pedro scores two goals. Pandemonium ensues. 3-1 Barca.
PU: 2-1 to FC Barcelona. Barcelona will field their strongest 11, knowing they can rest them next week if things go their way this week. So that means Xavi, Iniesta and Messi play. We might see Abidal as well in the starting 11. Messi and Villa to score for the Blaugrana and Luis Garcia for Espanyol.
BC: Guardiola wants to win La Liga as soon as possible. He will send every available man on the pitch and his players will deliver. Barcelona win 3-1. Each member of the MVP line will bag one and Osvaldo will score for Espanyol.
JA: 2-0 to Barcelona.
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