The weekend is upon us and it’s time for another La Liga match. This one can only be hectic and tough, as FC Barcelona travels to Madrid to play Atlético Madrid for the 3rd time in February. With Real Madrid’s loss in midweek against Valencia, it’s time for Barça to finally close the gap and smell 1st position, although Real Madrid has one match in advantage still.
The string of winter matches between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol last season, in both Copa and Liga, were emotional markers for both squads. The brutality of these encounters, epitomized by Pau Lopez’ intentional stomp on Leo Messi, underscored the animosity between the teams and their respective fans. It also made it clear that with the exception of the Clásico, these Catalan derbies are two of the most intense matches of the season. I was in Barcelona for these matches last year, and the sense of anticipation was palpable.
This year, as Barcelona host Espanyol for the first time in La Liga, there is another layer of hostility to add to the mix. Luis Enrique and Espanyol coach Quique Sánchez Flores are bitter enemies due to events of nearly 20 years ago when the players were teammates at Real Madrid.
This creates a charged backdrop for 90 minutes of football, and an experience for fans that defines the Spanish word Morbo: “ghoulish delight.”
On Sunday the La Liga kicks off for FC Barcelona for matchday 13. This time it’s a trip to San Sebastián to face Real Sociedad at the Anoeta. Exactly the stadium Anoeta has for the last decade been a true curse for Barcelona when playing there. Barcelona has not been able to win there since 2007, meaning a total of 6 straight La Liga games without winning there. With the current standings in the La Liga table in mind and the Clasico next weekend, a win is necessary for the team this weekend.
Tomorrow the La Liga restarts for FC Barcelona with kickoff for matchday 12. This time Málaga CF visit the Camp Nou and it’s the first match since the last international break in 2016. The match kicks off at 4.15pm CET. Though Barcelona are huge favorites; don’t underrate Malaga. They always come prepared for a tough played match.
On Sunday FC Barcelona will head to Sevilla to play at the Sánchez Pizjuán. Kickoff will be at 8.45pm CET and it’s surely a must see match – it’s La Liga’s number two against number four. Playing at Sánchez Pizjuán are always challenging, although Barça have managed to win three out of the last five matches (one loss and one draw also).
This Saturday at 8.45pm CET FC Barcelona will play their next league fixture against Granada at the Camp Nou. It’s matchday ten in La Liga season 2016/2017. Having scored 15 goals in the last four matches in La Liga, Barça look to continue their October form and chase down Real Madrid and Sevilla at the top spots.
La Liga is back in action this weekend as FC Barcelona travel to Valencia on Saturday for a game at Mestalla Stadium. The last match these two teams played was during Barça’s awful April. Valencia walked off Camp Nou as winners with the result 2-1.
Barça have come back excellently from the international break with two 4-0 wins, the latest being yesterday at Camp Nou against Manchester City. Barça will hopefully look to continue this current form. Though they already suffered 3 losses home at Mestalla, Valencia seem to have kickstarted their season with newly appointed coach Voro González. They have 3 wins in 4 matches with him.
After two weeks with another international break, Deportivo La Coruña will visit the Camp Nou on Saturday. One might remember the last meeting in April, when FC Barcelona rocked the Riazor and cruised to an easy 8-0 win in a Luis Suárez master show. Or one might remember how the teams have drawn the last two meetings at the Camp Nou (both matches 2-2), after Barça looked secure as leaders with a delightful 2-0 lead until the final stages of both matches. The match kicks off at the Camp Nou at 4.15pm CET tomorrow, Saturday 15th October 2016.
After a tough match in the UEFA Champions League, FC Barcelona travel to Galicia for a challenging match against Celta Vigo. Celta had a midweek match on Thursday: a Europa League match against Panathinaikos they won 2-0. The match will kickoff Sunday night at 8.45pm CET at Celta Vigo’s stadium, Balaídos.
In the last five matches between the teams, Barça has managed to win three, while Celta Vigo has two wins. You might remember their last meeting at Camp Nou, a 6-1 win for Barça, for the famous Lionel Messi penalty-assist for Luis Suárez, which was actually meant for Neymar. Or you might remember one of the bigger Barça-blowouts in the last decade, with the blaugrana losing 4-1 in the last meeting at Balaídos.
If the Alavés game was a misstep, and the Celtic game a masterpiece, Luis Enrique and the rest of the squad will be hoping that tomorrow’s match at Leganés falls somewhere in between.