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After the 2-2 draw with Man United at Spotify Camp Nou on Thursday, the stadium opens its gates again this Sunday for a Liga fixture at home to Cadiz, a side that has climbed out of the relegation zone following a rise in form following the World Cup break.
This is a team against which Barça have an unusually poor record in recent years and they are going into the game with a number of absences to contend with.
But they are currently sitting very comfortably in La Liga, with an 8-point lead over Real Madrid, which has hopefully only temporarily been cut to five after the all-whites won 2-0 at Osasuna on Saturday.
In 2020, Cadiz returned to the first division for the first time in fourteen years. After equalling their best-ever finish of 12th in their first year back in the elite, they narrowly escaped relegation last term, and this season has also been a battle to avoid the drop.
Now managed by Sergio González, things got off to an awful start in 2022/23, with Cadiz losing their first five matches. The results then picked up. In fact, they went for five games without losing any, although four of those games ended in draws, and they remained in the relegation zone
Since the league resumed after the World Cup, they have only lost two of their seven league games, away to Sevilla and Athletic Club. Following a 2-0 victory over Girona last week, they are now two points clear of the relegation zone, but they are still in desperate need of points.
Head to head
Since Cadiz returned to the first division in 2020, Barça have only won one of the five games in which they have played each other. In 2020/21, they lost 2-1 in Cadiz and then drew 1-1 in Barcelona. And in 2021/22, the reverse happened. A 0-0 draw in Andalusia was followed by a 1-0 home defeat.
After failing to beat Cadiz four times, and losing twice, Barça finally got things right when they met earlier this season, confidently winning 4-0 thanks to goals from De Jong, Lewandowski, Ansu Fati and Dembélé.
It was bad news Barça fans on Thursday when Pedri went down with a hamstring injury, and he sits this game out with the also injured Ousmane Dembélé. To add to the difficulties, Ronald Araujo picked up a fifth yellow card against Villarreal last Sunday and he'll be watching this one from the stands as well. That's three of Barça's most in-form players missing.
There was better news, however, with captain Sergio Busquets being included in the squad after missing the last two fixtures with an ankle injury.
Cadiz, meanwhile, have no major injury or suspension concerns for this one and are coming to Catalonia with a full-strength squad.
"We should dominate the possession in this game and we need to attack the spaces because Cadiz defend very well. We have struggled against them in recent years."
"The players are tired and carrying fitness issues, so we need to rotate the squad. And there are players who deserve to get playing time. Pedri is an essential part of our game plan but we have other options who should also be getting a game."
"Lewandowski was playing extraordinarily well and his form has dropped a bit, but he's still not bad. Perhaps we should be making better use of him."
"It's too early for Dembélé. But he's training on the field and when he's ready he'll be back."
"A lot can happen tomorrow, and we won't be thinking any further ahead than this game. We can worry about Thursday afterwards. I'd be furious if we let the league slip away, but there is a long way to go yet and we need to keep winning games."
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