After an almost perfect start to the league season, with 31 out of a possible 33 points, Barça go out in search tonight of their eleventh win against Zaragoza. It is never easy to refocus after an international break, and this week Tito Vilanova has only had one day, Friday, to work with his full squad.
The best news at FCB is that Carles Puyol has been declared fully recovered from his elbow injury, and provides much needed cover for the centre of defence. But there is a bad news too, for there are two new absences with respect to the side that won in such spectacular fashion at Mallorca (2-4). Busquets saw yellow for the fifth time this season at the Iberostar and is therefore suspended, while Alexis sprained his ankle while playing for Chile and will be out for four weeks. Víctor Valdés, despite becoming a father on Friday, will be in the team.
But where Barça are certainly not lacking is in the goalscoring department. They have 36 goals from 11 games and while last week Messi broke Pelé’s record for goals in a calendar year, this week David Villa could get his 300th goal as a professional.
But Zaragoza’s confidence ahead of their visit to the Camp Nou has been boosted by a run of three wins in four games. Last week’ 5-3 win against Deportivo was particularly impressive. Manolo Jiménez has four former FC Barcelona men in his squad (Montañés, Abraham, Edu Oriol and Víctor Rodríguez), while Hélder Postiga is the biggest danger up front. But Zaragoza have to face up to a daunting statistic. It is 46 years since they last won at the Camp Nou.