"These players never tire of winning"; speaking in yesterday's pre-match press conference, Luis Enrique threw down a gauntlet to the rest of La Liga and indeed the rest of world football, and now it's up to his players to make a similar statement on the pitch. As we enter 2016, FC Barcelona are favourites to win just about every competition they are entered into, and after finishing last season with a historic treble, the Blaugrana know that in spite of what the bookmakers and pundits might suggest the odds are stacked against them from doing just that.
No side has ever won back-to-back trebles. Only one side has even won two trebles in the near 60-year history of the European Cup / UEFA Champions League -- and that's FC Barcelona. But to win it twice in a row? Well, that requires of course a lot of talent, a great manager and above all else, an insatiable desire to win. Enrique says that his team boast that desire in spades; Espanyol will be looking to prove him wrong, or at least throw a spanner into the works.
Under the guidance of new head coach Constantin Galca, RCD Espanyol have won two of their last three and generally looked quite impressive. The former Steaua head coach has a reputation for promoting what we might classify as "good football" and already Espanyol seem to be turning a corner, even at this early stage of his reign. But with three matches against their city rivals in the next 11 days, Galca's rather easy start has suddenly transformed into a baptism of fire. Can he survive? And more importantly, what will he learn about his squad?
Predict the score of this first Catalan derby by commenting below. Best of luck!