La Liga 2017: Three things we learned from Espanyol 0-3 Barcelona

Talking points from the Barcelona Derby.

1 – Barcelona know how to grind out wins.

Not every game can be a 6-1 or a last minute winner at the Bernabéu. Sometimes, Barcelona will have to play a significant portion of the game with just a one goal advantage. It is said the sign of a champion is to see out the difficult victories and Barcelona have become very strong in that area. Instead of sitting back and soaking up pressure, Barcelona looked to apply pressure of their own on their opponents because what is the best way to deal with a one goal advantage? Make it a two gaol advantage and then three.

2 – Luis Suárez looked a little low on confidence but his goals will boost that.

Late in the first half, Suárez broke clear to the left of the Espanyol area, he looked up but then he stuttered. He tried to slide it across to Neymar but it didn’t come off and it made you wonder why did he not shoot first time? The opportunity was definitely there for a player of his quality so does it reflect a bigger confidence problem in Suárez? He has been going through somewhat of a difficult period as of late but his two goals should be enough to push him out of that less than great run of form.

3 – Barcelona have a very strong spine in the team.

Marc-André ter Stegen – Gerard Piqué – Sergio Busquets – Lionel Messi. Those four players create the spine of the team and are crucial. Lose one and there is a significant drop in quality and cohesion in the team. Piqué and ter Stegen keeps it solid at the back, Busquets runs the midfield and Messi creates the chances. Of course, there are other quality players around them but this spine is pivotal to the team’s success.

Espanyol vs. Barcelona, La Liga 2017: Final Score 0-3, Efficient Barça win Catalan Derby

HUGE victory! HUGE!

It took a while, but Barcelona were able to break down and beat Espanyol 3-0 on Saturday to win a crucial Catalan Derby and stay alive in the La Liga title race. In what was a physical game that lacked quality, the Blaugrana were clinical and efficient to take their chances and get three key points.

FIRST HALF

The first half was really hard to watch: both teams were very physical, especially the hosts, and we saw a lot of stoppages because of fouls, players arguing and a few more fouls. Barça defended badly but slowly grew into the game, taking control of possession and moving it nicely in the final third.

Despite their domination at the end of the period, there weren’t any real chances for either side, and we had a goalless draw at halftime.

SECOND HALF

The final period started with Luis Suárez ending a five-game goal drought and putting the Catalans ahead after an awful pass from an Espanyol player came straight to the Uruguayan, who couldn’t miss.

The goal cemented Barça’s dominance in the game, and the Blaugrana began to open the hosts up and find chances. Lionel Messi was fantastic as always and set up Ivan Rakitic for the dagger. 2-0 Barça. Suárez still got another after another Espanyol mistake and put the exclamation point in Barça’s victory.

Espanyol went forward looking for something to spark life into the game, but Barça were in control and ran out the clock to confirm a giant victory that keeps them alive in the title race. We’re still here, Real Madrid.


Espanyol: López; J.López, D.López, Reyes, Aarón; Jurado, Sánchez, Fuego (Roca), Piatti (Pérez); Moreno, Caicedo (Léo Baptistão)

Goals: None

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Gomes (Mascherano); Messi, Suárez, Neymar

Goals: Suárez (50′, 87′), Rakitic (76′)

RCD Espanyol de Barcelona, SAD VS. FC Barcelona POST-MATCH ANALYSIS and Q&A. HAY LIGA!!

‎Posted by Barca Blaugranes on‎ שבת 29 אפריל 2017

Luis Suárez scores nice brace for Barcelona at Espanyol

Finally!


After a worrisome first half, Luis Suárez has put Barcelona on track to keep pace with Real Madrid in the title race after their win today. It was looking scary for the Blaugrana after an ineffective opening 45 minutes, but they’ve jumped into the lead just six minutes into the second half after Suarez latched onto an errant back pass and finished as clinically as you’d expect him to. It’s 1-0 to Barça with 37 minutes to go.

After Ivan Rakitic made it 2-0, Suárez scored his second of the day to extend the lead to three:

Lionel Messi sets up Ivan Rakitic to double Barcelona’s lead at Espanyol

That should do it.


Barcelona appears to have gotten the job done against Espanyol today and have kept up with Real Madrid in the La Liga title race. After Luis Suárez gave the Blaugrana the lead early in the second half, Ivan Rakitic has doubled their lead with just under 15 minutes remaining. The goal was made by Lionel Messi’s great run up the gut of the field and through the Espanyol defense. After he made it to the top of the box he laid off a pass for Rakitic to simply pass into the net with pure precision. It’s 2-0!

Luis Suarez capitalizes on mistake, clinically puts Barcelona ahead of Espanyol

Finally!

After a worrisome first half, Luis Suarez has put Barcelona on track to keep pace with Real Madrid in the title race after their win today. It was looking scary for the Blaugrana after an ineffective opening 45 minutes, but they’ve jumped into the lead just six minutes into the second half after Suarez latched onto an errant back pass and finished as clinically as you’d expect him to. It’s 1-0 to Barca with 37 minutes to go.

Espanyol vs. Barcelona, La Liga 2017: CONFIRMED Lineups, Live Game Thread

Lineups, television and streaming options, and complete coverage of the Barcelona Derby. Join the conversation!

MATCH INFO

Preview: Espanyol vs. Barcelona

Date/Time: Saturday, 8:45pm CET, 7:45pm BST (UK), 2:45pm ET, 11:45am PT (USA), 12:15am IST (India, Sunday)

Venue: RCDE Stadium, Barcelona, Spain

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco

Television: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Sky Sports 2 (UK), SuperSport 12 (Africa), Sony Six SD/HD (India), Movistar+ (Spain), elsewhere

Online streaming: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), Sky GO (UK), FuboTV (7-day free trial + monthly subscription, click here to sign up), elsewhere


LINEUPS

Starting XI: López; J.López, D.López, Reyes, Aarón; Jurado, Sánchez, Fuego, Piatti; Moreno, Caicedo

Bench: Roberto, Duarte, Léo Baptistão, Pérez, Diop, Roca, Navarro

Starting XI: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Gomes; Messi, Suárez, Neymar

Bench: Cillessen, Mascherano, Digne, Aleñá, Denis, Arda, Alcácer


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

If you haven’t already, sign up for an SB Nation account and join the conversation on Barca Blaugranes, where we’ll have full coverage of every Barcelona match this season, with breaking news, opinion, and tactical discussion.

Espanyol vs. Barcelona, La Liga 2017 live stream: Start time, TV listings, and how to watch online

Barça need a big Catalan derby victory, and you need to watch it

The La Liga title race is heating up, and Real Madrid and Barcelona battle point by point. Los Blancos remain in control of their destiny, but Barça will not give up on the league trophy and will look to stay close to their rivals.

Barça have a very tough challenge this Saturday in the form of local rivals Espanyol, and while the Catalan Derby isn’t as famous as El Clásico, the two biggest teams in the city of Barcelona hate each other and this promises to be a heated battle.

The good news for Barça is that they have a lot of talent available to overcome Espanyol’s physicality, especially because Neymar is back. The Brazilian superstar missed the last three games due to a suspension, but is now ready to go again and will look to make his mark on a key match for his team.

Lionel Messi is in unbelievable form and will look to keep up his scoring momentum and lead his team to victory. Luis Suárez hasn’t scored in his last five appearances and definitely wants to end his goal drought in style on Saturday’s Derby.

This will be a really, really, really important match and Barça need all the support they can get. You must not miss it. You’ll have fun.


MATCH INFORMATION

Date/Time: Saturday, 8:45pm CET, 7:45pm BST (UK), 2:45pm ET, 11:45am PT (USA), 12:15am IST (India, Sunday)

Venue: RCDE Stadium, Barcelona, Spain

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco

HOW TO WATCH, STREAM LA LIGA

Television: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Sky Sports 2 (UK), SuperSport 12 (Africa), Sony Six SD/HD (India), Movistar+ (Spain), elsewhere

Online streaming: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), Sky GO (UK), FuboTV (7-day free trial + monthly subscription, click here to sign up), elsewhere

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)

FC Barcelona announce squad for La Liga match against Espanyol

NEYMAR RETURNS!!!

The next Barcelona match is upon us! The Blaugrana are back in La Liga action and they face a crucial Catalan Derby against Espanyol away from home, and coach Luis Enrique has called up 18 players to be in uniform.

This is the squad in full:


Goalkeepers: 1. Marc-André ter Stegen, 13. Jasper Cillessen

Defenders: 3. Gerard Piqué, 14. Javier Mascherano, 18. Jordi Alba, 19. Lucas Digne, 20. Sergi Roberto, 23. Samuel Umtiti

Midfielders: 4. Ivan Rakitic, 5. Sergio Busquets, 6. Denis Suarez, 7. Arda Turan, 21. André Gomes, 28. Carles Ale’ñá

Forwards: 9. Luis Suárez, 10. Lionel Messi, 11. Neymar Jr., 17. Paco Alcácer


The great news is the return of Neymar, who has served his three-game ban and is right back into the starting lineup for a crucial game. The bad news is that Andrés Iniesta misses out through a minor muscle problem, but should be back in training next week. Aleix Vidal, Rafinha Alcântara and Jérémy Mathieu miss out through injury as well, while Jordi Masip is left out per Lucho’s decision.

********

Predicted starting lineup (4-3-3):

Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Gomes; Messi, Suárez, Neymar


The match kicks off on Saturday at 8:45pm CET / 7:45pm BST (UK) / 2:45pm ET, 11:45am PT (USA) / 12:15am IST (India, Sunday), and you can join us to follow and comment all the action.

VISCA EL BARÇA!

FC Barcelona News: 29 April 2017: Iniesta Ruled Out Of Derby, Ronaldinho Shines In Return

A round-up of all the latest Barca news

Squad announcement for the Barcelona derby – FC Barcelona
Luis Enrique has announced his match day squad for this Saturday’s derby at the RCDE Stadium at 8.45 pm CET. Barça need three points to continue putting pressure on Real Madrid in the La Liga title race and to stay top of the table. Moreover, a derby is always a special match.

Barça Legends 3-2 Real Madrid Leyendas: Ronaldinho still has his magic – FC Barcelona
The Barça Legends have replicated what their peers did last Sunday by defeating Real Madrid 3-2, in the case of the veterans in Beirut on Friday evening. Ronaldinho was the biggest attraction as he donned the famous blaugrana shirt for a match for the first time since departing the club in 2008, and we were treated to several memories of his Brazilian magic, including assists for all three FCB goals, the first to Ludovic Giuly, which he did without even looking, a clone of the goal they scored against Milan in the 2006 Champions League semi-final.

Derby Preview: RCD Espanyol v FC Barcelona – FC Barcelona
Leo Messi’s last minute winner at the Santiago Bernabéu brought FC Barcelona’s Liga title campaign right back to life and the 7-1 thumping of Osasuna on Wednesday made sure things stayed that way. But there are still four ‘finals’ to go and the first of those is none other than a derby trip to neighbours RCD Espanyol on Saturday at 8.45pm CET.

Luis Enrique says Iniesta is a doubt for Espanyol game – FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona have another big game this weekend, one of the most important for the fans, when they take on Espanyol in the city derby in La Liga. In his pre-game press conference at the Ciutat Esportiva, coach Luis Enrique revealed that Andrés Iniesta was a doubt for the trip to the Cornellà-El Prat stadium on Saturday at 8.45pm CET. The Barça captain missed training on Friday morning due to a groin problem and Luis Enrique admitted: “We will have to wait until tomorrow to see if he can be included in the squad.”

Theo Hernandez closing in on summer transfer to Barcelona
Barcelona could deal a blow to Real Madrid by beating them to the signing of Atletico Madrid’s Theo Hernandez. The transfer is not one they had prioritised for this season, but progress has been made in recent weeks. In recent weeks, Barça have worked with both the player and Atletico, who are never keen to sell to their city rival. They tension between the two clubs has increased due to Madrid’s reported interest in Antoine Griezmann this season and Barça could be the ideal solution in the Theo case.

Neymar’s magic against Espanyol – FC Barcelona
Neymar is no stranger to big performances against tough opposition and Espanyol are no exception. The Brazilian knows all about scoring and creating goals against Barça’s city rivals both at Camp Nou and at the Cornellà-El Prat stadium. The Barça number 11 will be back this weekend for Saturday’s derby at 8.45pm CET at Espanyol after completing his three games suspension.

Barcelona Transfer News: Sanchez deal being prepared by Nou Camp | Football | Sport | Express.co.uk
The Colombian is said to be valued at £21million (€25m) and is tipped to be Samuel Umtiti’s long-term defensive partner at the Nou Camp. Ajax are said to be realistic about their chances of keeping the player but are in no immediate need to sell. He cost the Dutch club just £4.2m when arriving from Atletico Nacional.

Espanyol take aim at Lionel Messi ahead of Barcelona Derby

Motivation, if any were needed, is right here

Espanyol appear to have taken aim at Lionel Messi as they prepare to welcome Barcelona to the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat on Saturday night.

Quique Sánchez Flores’ side have taken to social media to tweet an image of their shirt being held up with the words ‘Tomorrow, remember what matters’.

The tweet seems to allude to Messi’s iconic celebration at the Bernabeu last weekend after he held his shirt aloft to the crowd after scoring the last minute winner, and his 500th goal for the club.

However, Espanyol seem to have taken a dim view of his celebration implying the club is always far more important than the individual.

Messi goes into the game in red-hot form with 10 goals in his last eight games and have scoring 11 times from his last 19 shots on target in La Liga.

Probably not a good idea to get Messi angry again, Espanyol. It’s actually a dumb idea.