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Thursday was a day to forget at FC Barcelona, and the best way to put elimination from the Europa League out of the collective mindset is by continuing the team’s brilliant form in the domestic championship.
In La Liga, Barça are on a 15-match unbeaten run stretching all the way back to December 4, having won eleven of those matches, including every one that has been played at Camp Nou.
But Easter Monday brings a 9.00pm CEST at home to something of a nemesis in recent times. Barça have not beaten Cádiz in any of the last three meetings, including a 0-0 draw in Andalusia earlier this season.
How things stand
It looked like Barça were going to get the chance to cut further into Real Madrid's lead when they went 2-0 down to Sevilla on Saturday, but Real came back to win it 3-2. That result does, however, increase Barça's hold on second place in the table.
Fourth placed Atlético Madrid left it late to beat Espanyol 2-1, while the two main outside challengers for a Champions League berth, Real Betis and Real Sociedad, went head to head and drew 0-0.
Cádiz, meanwhile, are currently third from bottom, but are just one point behind Granada and Mallorca, who have both lost this weekend, meaning they’ll be eyeing the opportunity to climb out of the relegation zone.
Did you know?
Since Sergio became Cádiz manager in January, the team has not lost two games in a row. The first back-to-back losses would happen if Barça win on Monday.
Barça have never failed to score in the 13 games they’ve played against Cádiz at Camp Nou, scoring 35 goals in that time. However, their longest scoring run at home is 26 games against Granada, followed by 18 against Real Murcia and 16 against Levante.
Barça have scored 15 goals from headers this season, the third highest tally in Europe’s big five leagues. Luuk de Jong leads the way with five.
Gerard Piqué misses another game with his groin problem, while Pedri has now been added to the casualty list after injuring his left hamstring against Eintracht Frankfurt. Ansu Fati and Samuel Umtiti both seem to be approaching full recovery but aren’t ready to return quite yet, while Sergi Roberto is also absent, and to add to the manager’s concerns, Ronald Araujo is serving a suspension.
"I think Cádiz will come and defend a lot like Eintracht did. They’ve got a lot better under Sergio and we need to rebuild after the defeat the other day. We hope we have the fans behind us this time because what happened on Thursday conditioned our performance a bit. We need the fans more than ever right now.”
“Against Levante and Eintracht we were giving the ball away far too much. We hit a high against Madrid and Sevilla and we’ve clearly dropped off since.”
“All we can do is focus on trying to win the eight remaining games. The main goal is qualifying for the Champions League and if we get a chance to compete for the league title, so much the better.”
"Pedri is very upset. It’s been a horrible blow for him and everyone. We need to wait and see how he heals before we can talk about dates and give him all the encouragement we can.”
“Piqué needs to rest. It isn’t an injury, it’s a problem that he’s been carrying for some time. He might be OK for Thursday.”
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