The Camp Nou opens its doors to another Catalunya Derby. On Sunday, Barcelona and Espanyol go head to head for the second time this season, but now it's really serious. The first derby was the Catalunya Super Cup, a friendly-like, one-game tournament won by the Blaugrana in penalty-kicks. Both teams started alternative lineups, and none of the big stars played that night.
Now, Barça and Espanyol square off in La Liga, and the biggest Catalan rivals come to this match in different stages. While the Blaugrana have gained momentum over the last few weeks coming off four straight wins and some convincing performances, their opponents are struggling, already looking at the ghost of relegation, with only 14 points in 13 matches. Winners of only three games, Espanyol have scored only 14 goals so far, six goals behind La Liga's scoring leader, Cristiano Ronaldo. They're not title contenders and probably never will be, but they're definitely better than this. A win in the Derby is a good motivator, and do it at Camp Nou is even better.
Sunday night should be fun. Here's a few key points you should look for when watching the Catalan Derby on Sunday:
Will Luis Suárez finally score his first La Liga goal?
The Uruguay striker likes to score on local derby games. He has scored on five of six games for Liverpool against Everton. Luisito is yet to find the net for Barça in La Liga matches, although he missed some pretty easy chances in last Sunday's win against Valencia. Suárez is close to getting fully fit, and his first domestic goal for Barça will come, sooner or later. A goal in should be pretty fun, right?
Luis Enrique to rotate again with PSG in mind?
Although the Catalunya Derby is pretty important, Barça's biggest match in December is next Wednesday, when the Blaugrana welcome Paris Saint-Germain to Camp Nou to decide who's coming out on top in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Coach Luis Enrique has maintained his strategy of big rotations on the squad to prepare his best players for the big matches. He did that against Huesca, and maybe he has already rested his stars for the two biggies ahead. But given his track record, we might see him rotating the lineup again, just in case.
If Barça beat their biggest rivals without conceding, they'll reach an unprecedented feat: seven straight wins against Espanyol with a clean sheet. The Blaugrana have conceded only six goals so far in La Liga, and they're the best in the league in terms of not conceding goals, with nine clean sheets in thirteen games. If they beat Espanyol and Claudio Bravo doesn't give away any scores, they'll make history in the Catalan Derby.
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