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It’s not often that FC Barcelona play two fixtures in the same midweek period, but after the 1-1 with Granada on Monday they are getting straight back down to action with a Thursday night game in Cádiz (10.00pm CEST).
It’s just the second away trip of the season so far. It’s a month since the 1-1 draw in Bilbao, and now Barça will be eager to pick up their first win on the road after setbacks at Camp Nou not just in La Liga but in the Champions League too.
After a slow start, failing to win any of their first four league matches, and suffering back-to-back home defeats against Osasuna and Real Sociedad, Cádiz sprung to life at the weekend with a 2-1 win away to Celta.
Ronald Koeman makes just one change to the twenty he chose for the Granada game. Alejandro Balde had to come off on Monday with lower back pain and is still having trouble, meaning that Nico González, also of Barça B, has been drafted in to take his place. As the coach hinted earlier this week, Ansu Fati is still not quite ready for his much-anticipated return.
The trip to Cádiz
How we got there:
How it stands
For the second time in a row, Barça are closing out this round of Liga fixtures. Despite being unbeaten in the competition, they are currently eighth. But a win today could send them flying up to third, and with a game in hand following the suspension of the Sevilla game.
Real Madrid consolidated their lead with a 6-1 defeat of Mallorca on Wednesday, two points ahead of Atlético, who had to come from behind to see off Getafe the day before.
Sevilla have replaced Valencia in third after beating them 3-1, but Real Sociedad can move above them with a win against Granada in one of today’s earlier games.
The last visit to Cadiz
A look back at the last game:
Did you know?
The Ramón de Carranza stadium has been renamed the Nuevo Mirandilla due to legislation forbidding nomenclature associated to the former fascist dictatorship, a situation applicable to the former mayor after whom the ground used to be named.
Exactly as against Granada, Luuk de Jong is the only member of the current Barça squad who has ever scored against Cadiz before. He did so wearing the Sevilla shirt in September 2020.
Barça will need to be careful at set pieces. That’s where four of Cadiz’s last five goals have come from – two penalties and two free kicks. Especially so when we note that three of the last four goals that the Catalans have conceded have come from free kicks or corners.
Thursday is not a typically good day for Barça. They have only won five of the last 15 league games played on this atypical match day.
Barça had 82.2% of the possession on their last visit to Cadiz, the highest ratio for any game in La Liga since 2014. Curiously, that dominance was not enough to avoid a shock defeat.
Rather than a traditional pre-game press conference, Ronald Koeman opted to simply issue a statement to the media and fans on Wednesday. The coach explained the difficult situation that the club is suffering right now and called for inconditional support as everyone does their utmost to steer the team through adversity.
“The club is with me in this period of reconstruction,” he said. “We have to reconstruct the team as a squad without making big investments and this takes time.
“The young talents we have can become world stars in a couple of years. The young players will have opportunities, just as Xavi and Iniesta had in their day, but we ask for patience.”
“Finishing high in the table would be a success on its own and in the Champions League we cannot expect miracles. The defeat against Bayern should be taken with perspective. The team should be supported, with words and with actions.”
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