Preview: Girona vs. Barcelona

Preview: Girona vs. Barcelona

Barcelona will be looking to make it eight straight wins in all competitions when they take on Catalan rivals Girona in Spain’s top flight on Saturday afternoon.

Xavi’s side are currently top of the La Liga table, three points behind second-placed Real Madrid, while Girona sit 11th, boasting 21 points from their opening 18 matches of the campaign.

Girona secured a return to Spain’s top flight for the 2022-23 campaign courtesy of their playoff success in the Segunda Division last season, with the team back at this level of football for the first time since 2019.

The White and Reds have won five, drawn six and lost seven of their 18 league games this season to collect 21 points, which has left them in 11th spot in the table, four points clear of the relegation zone.

Girona are only five points behind eighth-placed Athletic Bilbao, meanwhile, and they have only lost one of their last eight in Spain’s top flight during an impressive run of form.

The defeat in question came last Sunday at Villarreal, though, with Dani Parejo’s last-gasp penalty proving enough for the Yellow Submarine to secure all three points in front of their own supporters.

Michel’s side have picked up 15 points from their nine home league games this season, but Barcelona have the second-best record on their travels, collecting 21 points from eight matches.

Girona suffered a 2-0 loss to Barcelona when the two teams last met in January 2019, but they did manage to pick up a point at Camp Nou in September 2018.

Barcelona, meanwhile, will enter this match off the back of a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad on Wednesday night, which secured their spot in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Ousmane Dembele scored the only goal of the game in the quarter-final, and it proved to be a seventh straight success for the Catalan outfit, who won the Spanish Super Cup on January 15 by beating Real Madrid.

Xavi’s side were also 1-0 winners over Getafe in La Liga last weekend, and they currently have a three-point advantage over second-placed Real Madrid at the top of the table.

Barcelona have not lost a single match since Bayern Munich beat them in the Champions League at the end of October, and they are competing on three fronts this season, with the team preparing to take on Manchester United in a Europa League knockout round playoff tie next month.

There is still a lot of football to be played this term, and it does appear that it will be a fascinating race for the La Liga title; Real Madrid need to keep winning to stay in touch with the leaders, but Carlo Ancelotti’s side have a very tough match at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday night.

Barcelona have four more league games before the first leg of their Europa League tie with Man United at Camp Nou on February 16, taking on Girona, Real Betis, Sevilla and Villarreal.

Girona La Liga form:

Girona form (all competitions):

Barcelona La Liga form:

Barcelona form (all competitions):

We say: Girona 1-2 Barcelona
Girona are capable of making this a very difficult match for Barcelona, and we are expecting it to be tight in terms of the scoreline. Michel’s side have been difficult to beat in recent weeks, but the visitors should have enough quality to navigate their way to a vital three points on Saturday afternoon.

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