FC Barcelona (2nd, 60pts) vs Cádiz CF (18th, 28pts)
Competition/Round: 2021-22 La Liga, Matchday 32
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Pedri, Ronald Araujo, Gerard Piqué, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti (out)
Cádiz Outs & Doubts: Varazdat Haroyan, Florin Andone, Rubén Alcaraz (out), Iza (doubt)
Date/Time: Monday, April 18, 2022, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Tuesday)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Santiago Jaime Latre
VAR: Jesús Gil Manzano
How to watch on TV: Not Available (USA), TSN 1 (Canada), Premier Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), MTV (India), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), others
Following a horrible defeat and exit from the Europa League at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday, Barcelona return to action for the first of eight games remaining in the La Liga schedule as they welcome struggling Cádiz to the Greatest Stadium on Earth for some rare Monday Night Fútbol action.
Thursday was a terrible night in every way: Barça played badly, lost at home to a team they were expected to beat, saw 30,000 Frankfurt fans invade Camp Nou and lost Pedri to a season-ending injury. It was literally as bad as it gets, but now they have no choice but to learn from the experience, move on and focus on what’s left.
And what’s left is their goal for the season, which is qualifying for the Champions League through the league. Barça continue to have a firm grip on the Top 4 and have a giant chance on Monday to open up a three-point gap to both Sevilla and Atlético Madrid and be in sole possession of second place with a game in hand.
That game in hand is against Rayo Vallecano at home on Sunday after a tough trip to Real Sociedad on Thursday, and if Xavi Hernández’s side can get all nine points from a very tough week they will pretty much guarantee second place and still give themselves a small chance to fight for the title.
The best way to lift their spirits after Thursday’s disaster is to show their strength in La Liga, something Barça have done for the last two months. Cádiz are fighting against relegation but have always been a very difficult opponent for Barça, although this will be the first time they face Xavi’s team since getting promotion a couple of years ago.
They have a solid defensive structure and good strikers up front, and if Xavi decides to rotate his squad and rest some players there is a chance Cádiz can pull off the upset. Barça must be at their best on Monday regardless of who’s on the pitch, because they need a win for a lot more than just the three points.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Alves, Eric, Lenglet, Dest; F. De Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Adama, Memphis, Ferran
Cádiz (4-4-2): Ledesma; Akapo, Chust, Hernández, Espino; Alejo, Mari, Emeterio, Idrissi; Negredo, Pérez
I’m expecting a big response from the team and the fans in this one. If La Liga is all that’s left, Barça will fight for it until the end: 4-0 to the good guys.