*Points and positions at the time of writing on Friday
Competition/Round: 2019-20 La Liga, Matchday 19
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Marc-André ter Stegen, Arthur, Ousmane Dembélé, Jean-Clair Todibo, Moussa Wagué (out)
Espanyol Outs & Doubts: Sébastien Corchia, Esteban Granero (out), Matías Vargas, Víctor Sánchez, Pablo Piatti (doubt)
Date/Time: Saturday, January 4, 2020, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Sunday)
Venue: RCDE Stadium, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Premier Sports 2 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), Not Available (India), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), others
How to stream: FuboTV (USA), beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), Premier Player (UK), Facebook Live (India), Movistar+ (Spain), others
Hello, 2020! The new year is here and our favorite team is back, although I was kind of hoping we didn’t have to watch Barcelona for another week of seventeen. The last two performances of 2019 were pretty bad but somehow we’re two points clear at the top of the table in La Liga, which means Valverde has everything exactly where he wants it.
Yeah, Ernesto is still the coach and this team is still going to be boring to watch and will suffer a lot to win games they should dominate. Take this weekend for example: the first game of 2020 is against Espanyol, and you’ll probably have to read these stats twice to believe them: Espanyol are bottom of the table with the worst overall attack, the worst overall defense, the worst home defense, the second-worst home attack, and are the only team in the league without a win at home this season. Their 20 goals conceded at home is worst in the league by FIVE GOALS, which is pretty spectacular when it comes to bad.
But we all know how this works: it’s a Catalan Derby away, which is the perfect excuse for the post-match press conference. I really, really hope Barça prove me wrong on Saturday, but I’ve been seeeing this movie for two and a half years and it’s kind of like The Irishman: filled with starpower and all the potential to be an all-timer, but it’s way too long and way too frustrating to watch.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY!
Barcelona (4-3-3): Neto; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, De Jong; Messi, Suárez, Griezmann
Espanyol (4-4-2): Diego López; Javi López, Bernardo, Calero, Dídac; Darder, David López, Roca, Vargas; Wu Lei, Calleri
Barça are always bad in the first game of the year and Espanyol are always a pain in the you know what, so this will be tough to play and watch for 90 minutes: 2-1 Barça, Ernie Special.