MX23RW : Tuesday, January 29 13:14:52
Jan 27, 2019 at 3.15pm UK at ​Estadi Municipal de Montilivi (Girona)
Attendance: 14,021

Espinosa (51')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Semedo (9'), Messi (68')

Preview: Girona vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole brings you the team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Barcelona's trip to Girona in La Liga.

Barcelona will be looking to record their eighth successive La Liga victory when they visit Catalan rivals Girona on Sunday afternoon.

The Spanish champions have been victorious in their last seven in the league to open up a five-point advantage over second-placed Atletico Madrid, while Girona currently occupy 12th position in the table.


Girona players celebrate after scoring against Barcelona on September 23, 2018© Reuters

Five wins, nine draws and six defeats - that is how Girona have performed in La Liga this season, with a total of 24 points leaving them in 12th position, just two points off eighth-placed Real Sociedad.

Girona have actually lost the same number of league matches this season as Real Madrid and had they managed to turn a couple of their draws into wins, Eusebio Sacristan's side would be close to the top six at this stage.

That said, Girona have not actually picked up all three points in a La Liga match since the end of November. Indeed, in seven league fixtures since then, they have drawn four and suffered three defeats.

The Catalan outfit suffered a 3-2 defeat at Real Betis in the league last weekend, while they were in Copa del Rey quarter-final action away to Real Madrid on Thursday night, suffering a 4-2 defeat in the first leg at the Bernabeu.

Anthony Lozano sent Girona ahead against Real Madrid, but the European champions responded impressively to ensure that they would have a two-goal advantage to take into the second leg next week.

The 2017-18 campaign proved to be Girona's first ever season in La Liga; there is absolutely no question that the team performed above expectations, with a 10th-placed finish quite remarkable.

This weekend will be just the second time that Girona have welcomed Barcelona and they found it difficult against their rivals at the Estadio Montilivi last time out, suffering a 3-0 home defeat. That said, they did pick up a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou in La Liga earlier this season.

Recent form: LLDDDL
Recent form (all competitions): DDDDLL


Barcelona duo Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi celebrate a goal against Leganes in La Liga on January 20, 2019.© Reuters

Barcelona's 3-1 win over Leganes last weekend proved to be their seventh straight La Liga victory. Entering Week 21 in Spain's top flight, Ernesto Valverde's side have a five-point lead over second-placed Atletico.

Real Madrid have now moved into third, but the European champions are 10 points off Barcelona as it stands and it does appear that Atletico are the only team capable of stopping the current leaders from retaining the crown.

That said, Barcelona will enter this match off the back of a 2-0 defeat away to Sevilla in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final on Wednesday night.

Valverde made a number of changes for the trip to the Estadio Ramon and Sevilla proved too strong on the night, meaning that Barcelona have serious work to do in the second leg if they are to continue in the competition.

There is no question that the Catalan giants would sacrifice another Copa del Rey title for the Champions League, however, and they will travel to Lyon in the first leg of their last-16 tie in just under a month.

A La Liga and Champions League double would represent a very good season for Barcelona, especially considering that they have not been without their issues during the 2018-19 campaign.

Barcelona have only lost once on the road in La Liga this term - a 2-1 defeat at Levante on September 26 - but Valverde will be wary of the threat that their Catalan rivals could pose on Sunday afternoon.

Recent form: WWWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WLWWWL

Team News

Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona on December 11, 2018© Reuters

Girona's leading scorer Cristhian Stuani was an unused substitute in Thursday's Copa del Rey defeat to Real Madrid, but the forward should return to the starting XI this weekend.

Portu and Pere Pons are also expected to return for Girona, while Lozano's strike against Real Madrid could earn the attacker a position in the final third of the field.

Johan Mojica, Aday and Carles Planas are all still on the sidelines for Eusebio's side.

As for Barcelona, Lionel Messi will return having been left out of the clash with Sevilla.

Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho will also earn recalls, while the same can be said for the likes of Jordi Alba, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Sergio Busquets.

Kevin-Prince Boateng, Malcom and Carles Alena will be among those to drop out, while Samuel Umtiti, Ousmane Dembele and Rafinha are still on the treatment table for the Catalan outfit.

Girona possible starting lineup:
Bounou; Alcala, Espinosa, Juanpe; Porro, Pons, A Garcia, Valery; Portu, Stuani, Lozano

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Coutinho, L Suarez, Messi

Head To Head

Sunday will be just the fourth La Liga meeting between the Catalan rivals.

As mentioned, Barcelona won their first clash 3-0, before recording a 6-1 win at Camp Nou last season.

That said, Girona picked up a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou when they made the trip in La Liga earlier this term.

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We say: Girona 1-3 Barcelona

Messi will be revitalised having been left out against Sevilla and we expect the Argentine to inspire his team to another La Liga victory on Sunday afternoon.

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Who will win Sunday's La Liga clash between Girona and Barcelona?

Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona on December 11, 2018
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2Atletico MadridAtletico21128132131944
3Real Madrid2112363426839
8Real Betis218582526-129
9Real Sociedad217682524127
12Athletic Bilbao2151152226-426
13Real Valladolid216781924-525
17Rayo Vallecano2165102536-1123
18Celta Vigo2156103336-321

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