Barcelona vs. Espanyol: Team News, Preview, Live Stream and TV Info

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist ISeptember 8, 2017

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 20:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Real Betis at Camp Nou on August 20, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona return to La Liga action after the international break on Saturday and will be hoping to continue new coach Ernesto Valverde's winning start to the campaign.

The Blaugrana opened up their campaign with a 2-0 win over Real Betis at Camp Nou and followed that up with another 2-0 win, this time away at Alaves.

Next up are local rivals Espanyol who are yet to taste victory, after an opening-day defeat by Leganes and a 1-1 draw at Sevilla.

The game could see a Barcelona debut for summer signing Ousmane Dembele who joined the club in August for an initial fee of €105 million plus add-ons, the club confirmed.

Read on for a preview of Saturday's fixture, complete with the latest team news and viewing information.

         

Date: Saturday, September 9

Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

Live Stream: Sky Go app (UK), beIN Sports Connect (U.S.), fuboTV (U.S.)

TV Info: Sky Sports Football (UK), beIN Sports (U.S.)

          

Team News

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Barcelona could be without Ivan Rakitic for the clash after the midfielder missed Croatia's FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier against Turkey due to injury.

The club have confirmed he has a thigh issue and "is working in the gym" following his return from international duty.

Luis Suarez could also return to action after recovering from a knee injury and featuring for Uruguay in their draw with Argentina.

The striker was forced off in the game but confirmed after that it was only cramp via Instagram (h/t FourFourTwo).

Barcelona's only other absentee is Rafinha who is still recovering after undergoing knee surgery.

Espanyol, meanwhile, had a busy end to the transfer window and could look to give summer arrivals Sergio Sanchez, Sergi Darder and Didac Vila some minutes.

         

Preview

Despite a difficult summer that saw Neymar leave and Philippe Coutinho fail to arrive, Barcelona have made a strong start to the Liga season with two wins and two clean sheets.

Barcelona can now call upon Dembele for the visit from Espanyol, and he may well be tasked with being the immediate replacement for Neymar, a job he looks well suited for, as illustrated by Opta:

Valverde may have to make changes if, as expected, Rakitic misses out, and the coach will also have one eye on next week's UEFA Champions League clash with Juventus.

Espanyol, meanwhile, would love nothing more than to pick up their first win of the season at the home of their rivals after a dismal start to the campaign.

However, Lionel Messi has been in imperious form for Barcelona, with two goals already, and with Dembele out to make an impact, the visitors may have to wait for their first win of the season.