clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Barcelona can pile more misery on struggling Espanyol in Derbi Barceloní

Saturday’s opponents are bottom of the table

FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona return to La Liga action on Saturday against Espanyol and have always had the edge over their local rivals, although the Periquitos have provided stiff competition in past fixtures. The 2017/18 Copa del Rey saw Espanyol defeat Barca in the 1st leg of their quarter-final clash, while Espanyol’s home La Liga fixture during that same season resulted in a 1-1 draw. In recent times, however, Espanyol have struggled to pull off their usual form, sitting on a mere 10 points at the foot of the league table. Will the Blaugranes’ visit to the RCDE Stadium end in an easy three points, or is there more to this clash than meets the eye?

Let’s take a look at how the Catalonian underdogs have performed as of late. Espanyol’s last five outings ended in three losses and two draws, with the side struggling to keep out goals during that time. Espanyol conceded a massive 11 goals during those five games, averaging 2.2 goals conceded per 90 minutes. This poor defensive record has been evident throughout the season, with the Blanquiazules conceding a whopping 34 goals in 18 games.

Espanyol V Osasuna Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

On the attacking front, Espanyol has fared slightly better, although they have been far from outstanding. Five goals in five games may seem consistent, but few of them have proven beneficial considering the barrage of goals that have been conceded at the other end of the field.

Espanyol have only managed two wins this season- a 1-0 away win at Levante and a 2-1 victory at Eibar. While they may be at home during their clash with the Blaugranes, it has become apparent that they do not possess much of a home ground advantage.

Levante UD v RCD Espanyol - La Liga Photo by David Aliaga/MB Media/Getty Images

On the other hand, let’s take a look at how the Blaugranes have fared against opposition of Espanyol’s stature this season. While Barca may have gotten off to a rocky start this season, with losses against Athletic Bilbao and Granada, they have built up the necessary momentum to surge to the top of La Liga.

The Blaugranes last lost on 2nd November in what was a shock 3-1 away defeat to Levante, and have since returned to top form. Their recent 2-2 draw with Real Sociedad can be understood given Sociedad’s great form this season (they are currently in 5th place) while a draw against rivals Real Madrid is nothing to be ashamed of. Aside from those results, Barca have steamrollered top opposition this season.

Atletico Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

The only way that Espanyol could potentially upset Barca is if new manager Abelardo Fernandez has a trick or two up his sleeve. The third Espanyol manager this season, Abelardo previously coached Sporting de Gijón and Deportivo Alavés.

He did a fine job in securing 11th place with Alavés last season, defeating the likes of Real Madrid and Valencia in the process. Still, this does not prove that he has the ability to deliver an upset over Barca with a struggling Espanyol side.

While football is oftentimes an unpredictable game, Barca should have little trouble disposing of their local rivals given their superior form as of late. Anything less than three points will be considered a disappointment for the Blaugranes faithful.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes