‘Derbi Barceloní’ is the most played local derby in the history of La Liga (LL), but Espanyol have often found themselves on the wrong side of the result, losing 101 of the previous 173 top-flight meetings.
Their recent four-game LL form (D1, L3) adds further to the pressure as another loss could drag the hosts closer to the relegation zone. Manager Vicente Moreno will therefore be hoping to inspire a turn in the tide, but his record of three LL defeats in as many clashes with Barcelona won’t stimulate much confidence.
To secure the win they desperately need, Espanyol need to overcome a 13-game winless home H2H LL stretch dating back to January 2007.
They’ll also be eager to avoid losing three consecutive home LL games for the first time since July 2020, particularly given that they pieced together a solid home run of seven LL games (W6, D1) without loss immediately prior to this downturn in form.
Confidence will be high for Barcelona who improved their top-four chances with a 4-2 win over Atlético Madrid last time out. Extending their current unbeaten league streak (W4, D3) will also earn Barça a spot in the record books as they’d set a new record for the most LL derby matches unbeaten (currently 23).
Xavi started his Barcelona managerial career with a narrow 1-0 win in the reverse fixture, yet this short trip across town shouldn’t camouflage Barça’s indifferent away form with just three wins across their last 11 LL away matches (W3, D6, L2).
Eight of those saw Barcelona concede, although they have notably kept six clean sheets across their last eight away league H2Hs.
Players to watch: A late showing from Javi Puado won’t go unappreciated as Espanyol won the previous two league games when he netted their last goal. Equally effective is his Barça opponent Gavi who’s last two LL goals have come in wins when he was his side’s second scorer.
Hot stat: The visitors on the day have failed to score before the break in ten of the last 11 LL H2Hs.