FC Barcelona vs Galatasaray SK
Competition/Round: 2021-22 UEFA Europa League, Round of 16, Leg 1
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Gavi, Dani Alves, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti, Alejandro Balde (out)
Galatasaray Outs & Doubts: Arda Turan (doubt)
Date/Time: Thursday, March 10, 2022, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Friday)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA)
VAR: Delajod Willy (FRA)
How to watch on TV: TUDN (USA), BT Sport 3 (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India), Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain), others
How to watch online: Paramount+ (USA), BT Sport Live (UK), Movistar+ (Spain), others
Following a hard-fought victory over Elche to continue their hot streak in La Liga, Barcelona return to action for some Thursday night European action when they welcome Turkish giants Galatasaray to the Greatest Stadium on Earth for the first leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie.
Barça’s win at Elche extended their winning streak in all competition to four games, and they haven’t lost a match since January. This is a good time to be a Barça fan, and the team is starting to look very strong at the right time.
With their level of performances lately and the other ties in this Round of 16 which will inevitably knock out quite a few really good sides, Barça can be considered favorites in the Europa League while also remaining focused on finishing in the La Liga Top 4, something which was almost impossible to imagine not too long ago.
After a brutal but magical February, Barça are in the middle of another busy month with five games in the first three weeks of March before the final international break of the season. The last game before the break is El Clásico, and that one will happen three days after a long trip to Turkey for the second leg of the European tie with Galatasaray.
With such a short turnaround ahead of the biggest game of their season, Barça must try their hardest to get a strong result in the first leg and earn the opportunity to rest some players for the return match. The possibility of a big win does exist on Thursday: this has not been a good season for Galatasaray, who are trying to rebuild their squad on the fly and have been plagued by some serious inconsistency throughout the campaign.
They did top their Europa League group with an unbeaten record in a group featuring Lazio and Olympique Marseille, however, so their European exploits have been the highlight of their season and will give them confidence that they can pull off the upset against Barça. They usually don’t do any bus parking, so they will take the game to the Blaugrana and try to get a good result on the road.
This should be good. Let’s dance.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Piqué, Alba; F. De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Adama, Memphis, Ferran
Galatasaray (4-2-3-1): Muslera; Elabdellaoui, Nelsson, Marcão, Van Aanholt; Pulgar, Kutlu; Babel, Cicaldau, Akturkoglu; Gomis
Galatasaray are a strange, inconsistent side. It’s hard to know which team will turn up to Camp Nou, which makes a prediction almost impossible. They could have a brilliant night and make things very tough or just not show up at all and give Barça a chance to wrap up the tie in the first leg. To be safe, I’ll go 2-0 Barça, but it could really be anything.