FC Barcelona (2nd, 12pts) vs Girona (10th, 7pts)
Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 5
Barcelona Outs and Doubts: Malcom, Rafinha, Sergi Samper, Carles Aleñá, Thomas Vermaelen (out)
Girona Outs and Doubts: Johan Mojica, Carles Planas (out), Jonás Ramalho (doubt)
Date/Time: Sunday, September 23, 2018, 8.45pm CET (Barcelona), 7.45pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 2.45pm ET, 11.45am PT (USA), 12.15am IST (India, Monday)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Eleven Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), others
After a dominant and impressive 4-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven to start the new Champions League season in style, La Liga champions Barcelona are back in domestic action with what could be a very difficult Catalan Derby against Girona at the Camp Nou.
Barça are still perfect this season, but they’ve walked the tight rope in multiple occasions, relying on second half comebacks to win games and not looking at their best in large stretches of those matches. Their ability to still find the extra gear that gives them three points is impressive, but it’d be nice if we got to see more of the PSV victories instead of the Real Sociedad ones.
Against Girona, who play a bold, attacking style that tends to leave spaces at the back, Barça have a chance to inflict damage early on and have a comfortable night at their home stadium. If they start slow, this could get tricky. At some point, one would assume, the “Let’s Catch Fire in the Second Half” plan may not work. Let’s hope we don’t get to see it on Sunday night.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Arthur, Busquets, Coutinho; Messi, Suárez, Dembélé
Girona (3-4-3): Bono; Espinosa, Juanpe, Alcalá; Porro, Granell, Douglas, Aday; Portu, Stuani, Borja
If we start slow, this will be nervous. If we’re at it from the jump, Girona just don’t have enough defensively to keep us from scoring: 3-0 Barça.