Preview: Barcelona vs. Girona

Preview: Barcelona vs. Girona

Barcelona will be aiming to bounce back from their heavy Copa del Rey defeat to Real Madrid when they resume their La Liga campaign at home to Girona on Monday night.

Xavi’s side are currently top of the table, 11 points clear of second-placed Real Madrid, while Girona sit 11th, seven points clear of the relegation zone in Spain’s top flight.

Barcelona are in pole position to win La Liga this season, currently sitting 11 points ahead of second-placed Real Madrid, although the gap could be cut to eight points ahead of this match, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side in action against Villarreal on Saturday night.

Only a huge collapse at this late stage of the campaign would prevent the Catalan side from winning the title, but they suffered huge disappointment in the Copa del Rey last week, going out of the competition in the semi-finals to bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Xavi’s team took a 1-0 lead into the second leg of the last-four clash, but a 4-0 home defeat saw the reigning Spanish and European champions advance to the final, where they will face Osasuna.

Barcelona have also been knocked out of the Champions League and Europa League this season, so they simply must win La Liga in order to make it a relatively successful campaign.

Blaugrana have the best home record in La Liga this season, picking up 35 points from 13 matches, scoring 27 goals in the process and conceding just twice, which is an indication of the size of the task for Girona, who will also be facing a team looking to bounce back from a heavy loss.

Girona secured a return to La Liga through last season’s Segunda Division playoffs, so any position higher than 18th would be considered a successful campaign.

The White and Reds have won nine, drawn seven and lost 11 of their 27 league games this season, which has left them in 11th position in the table on 34 points.

Girona are seven points clear of the relegation zone at this late stage of the campaign, while they are only four points behind seventh-placed Osasuna at the time of writing.

Michel’s side will enter this match off the back of a 2-1 win over Espanyol last weekend, with Cristhian Stuani’s late penalty proving to be the difference between the two teams.

Girona have only won twice on their travels in La Liga this term, though, while they have lost their last two league games against Barcelona, including a 1-0 defeat in the reverse game earlier this season.

Barcelona La Liga form:

Barcelona form (all competitions):

Girona La Liga form:

We say: Barcelona 2-0 Girona
Barcelona will have been wounded by their loss to Real Madrid, so this is arguably the worst possible time to play them. Girona have the quality to cause problems at Camp Nou, but we are finding it difficult to back anything other than a routine home success in this contest.

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