January 6, 2013. FC Barcelona fans packed into the Camp Nou to watch their team play against RCD Espanyol on Three Kings Day – traditionally, Three Kings Day, or Epiphany, is when Catalan and Spanish children receive gifts from family and friends. The seasonal festivities spread from the homes in Barcelona to the stadium as the Blaugrana fired for four unanswered goals against their city rivals. Xavi, Pedro (2), and Messi netted for Barça in the first 30 minutes of the match, but the 4-0 scoreline could have been more dramatic as Pedro had two goals disallowed and Messi crashed a shot against the woodwork.
Espanyol are 11th on 44 points from 36 matches. Of their last five La Liga matches, they’ve won one, lost three, and tied one. Their latest victory was secured over a month ago, against Getafe (2-0), since then they’ve been defeated by Granada (0-1) and Sevilla (3-0), and held by Real Madrid (1-1).
ONES TO WATCH
Ex-FC Barcelona youth team player Joan Verdú has been one of Javier Aguirre’s go-to men since he took charge of Espanyol in November of 2012. The midfielder has scored a total of eight goals this season and he’s given out four assists. In addition to Verdú, Barça will have to keep an eye on the avid midfielder Simão Sabrosa and forward Sergio García, both of whom featured for FC Barcelona’s first team earlier in their careers.