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

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IFebruary 23, 2018

Girona's defender Juanpe Ramirez (L) vies with Barcelona's forward from Argentina Lionel Messi during the Spanish league football match Girona FC vs FC Barcelona at the Montilivi stadium in Girona on September 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Josep LAGO        (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

Barcelona are back in La Liga action on Saturday as they welcome local rivals Girona to the Camp Nou.

Ernesto Valverde's side remain top of the table in Spain but come into the game on the back of a tough UEFA Champions League draw at Chelsea on Tuesday night.

Girona, meanwhile, have had over a week to prepare for the clash and were 3-0 winners over Leganes last time out.

Here's a look at how you can watch the game, followed by team news and a match preview.

           

Date: Saturday, February 24

Time: 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET

TV: Sky Sports, beIN Sports USA

Live Stream: Sky Go (UK), beIN Sports Connect USA

        

Team News

Girona have few injury problems, although Pedro Alcala is yet to return from an ankle injury picked up in September, per Transfermarkt.

Barcelona could be without defender Gerard Pique after he limped off at the end of his side's 1-1 draw with Chelsea, per Marca's Cristina Navarro. If Pique does miss out, Yerry Mina or Thomas Vermaelen could come into the heart of the defence.

Philippe Coutinho could also come back into the side, having missed the trip to Stamford Bridge as he was cup-tied. Nelson Semedo also sat out that match due to suspension and could replace Sergi Roberto at right-back. Barcelona have looked tired in recent weeks and also play Las Palmas in La Liga on Thursday, March 1, so Valverde may look to rotate.

      

Preview

Girona are enjoying a superb first campaign in La Liga and have been one of the surprises of the season. Pablo Machin's side head into the weekend in eighth place and with a realistic chance of qualifying for Europe.

The team have also claimed some notable scalps along the way. They memorably secured a 2-1 home win over champions Real Madrid in October and have drawn home and away with Atletico Madrid.

Spanish football journalist Alexandra Jonson said the club's achievements are incredible:

Two of Girona's most impressive players this season have been strikers Portu and Cristhian Stuani. The duo have scored 22 goals between them and have given Girona a real cutting edge and potency in attack.

Portu has also proven to be the man for the big occasion, as shown by Opta:

A big performance will be needed at the Camp Nou if they are to pull off another shock and beat Barcelona, who remain undefeated in La Liga.

However, Valverde's side have shown signs of fatigue in recent weeks as a hectic fixture list appears to have caught up with them. Barca were a little fortunate to come away from Stamford Bridge with a draw, as Chelsea twice hit the post and the visitors' goal stemmed from a mistake from Andreas Christensen.

Barcelona looked slow and struggled to break down Chelsea, and Valverde may look to make changes. One man who must start the game is Ousmane Dembele, according to sports writer Andy West:

Dembele would offer pace, and the 20-year-old needs game time after struggling with injury all season. His latest outing came in the 0-0 draw with Getafe, where he looked nervous and short of confidence.

Barcelona go into the game as favourites to win, but the league leaders are not quite at their best, and Girona have already shown they are capable of upsetting the big sides this season.

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