FC Barcelona (1st, 71pts) vs Girona FC (11th, 34pts)
Competition/Round: 2022-23 La Liga, Matchday 28
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Frenkie De Jong, Pedri, Andreas Christensen, Ousmane Dembélé (out)
Girona Outs & Doubts: Ibrahima Kébé, Reinier (out), Alexander Callens, Joel Roca, Yangel Herrera (doubt)
Date/Time: Monday, April 10, 2023, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Tuesday)
Venue: Spotify Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
VAR: Santiago Jaime Latre
How to watch on TV: ESPN Deportes (USA), SuperSport (Nigeria), Sports18 (India), Not Available (Canada, UK, Spain), others
How to watch online: ESPN+ (USA), LaLigaTV (UK), DAZN (Spain), others
Following a devastating El Clásico loss to end their dreams of a domestic treble, Barcelona return to action looking to continue their march to the La Liga title when they welcome Girona to the Greatest Stadium on Earth for a Catalan derby on Monday Night Fútbol.
There has been a lot of talk about what Barça need to do to improve their results in cup competitions since the defeat to Real Madrid, but it’s undeniable just how much they’ve dominated the league this season. Winning the league is the true measurement of consistency for a team, and the Blaugrana can take a massive step towards turning that consistency into gold.
Thanks to Villarreal’s incredible comeback win against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu on Saturday, Barça will go 15 points clear at the top of the table if they beat Girona with just 10 games left. It will essentially end the title race, and start the countdown towards officially clinching their first league title in four years.
It’s hard to see a Barça collapse at this point, but there will always be just the slightest bit of fear of a historic fall from grace until they actually get the job done and do it as soon as possible. Winning on Monday is crucial to eliminate the anxiety, and Barça should have another source of motivation for getting more than just three points in this one.
They simply have to respond to the Clásico defeat with a commanding performance and a strong victory in front of their home fans. Had they advanced past Madrid and gone to the Copa del Rey Final, maybe a great performance wasn’t too important and just getting three points would be enough to continue the chase of the treble.
But the manner of Wednesday’s defeat demands a very strong reaction, and the team must show hunger to compete and play as well as they can for all 90 minutes. It’ll show strength and more importantly it’ll show that the players are hurting just as much as the fans, and that they actually care about bouncing back from a humiliating loss against their biggest rivals.
Girona are a young side with a whole of talent all over the squad, and they’re the fourth-best scoring team in the league for a reason. They don’t sit back and like to attack wherever they play, and they’re an intense bunch who will give Barça all they can handle. It’s a quality opponent that will demand a very strong performance from the leaders, and it’s the perfect chance to play well, restore the good vibes and get one step closer to glory.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Eric, Balde; Roberto, Busquets, Gavi; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Fati
Girona (4-1-4-1): Gazzaniga; Martínez, Bueno, López, Hernández; Romeu; Tsigankov, Martín, García, Villa; Castellanos
Girona won’t sit back and want to cause trouble which will lead to a more open match with plenty of highlights, goals and a fun Barça win: 3-1 to the good guys.