Isaac Cuenca vs Zaragoza. PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS- FCB.

This Saturday FC Barcelona will travel to La Romareda to play against the second-from-the-bottom team in the Liga. Despite the distance between the two in the table, Zaragoza have found their form of late and the face off promises to be a tough one for Guardiola’s men. The Aragón side have won their last three matches; what once was a 12-point climb out of the relegation zone has turned into only 4.  

The Manolo Jiménez effect

The man responsible for turning the once-ailing Zaragoza team around is manager Manolo Jiménez. The Andalusian took charge of the morale-depleted team at the start of the calendar year and injected hope into the Aragón side. Since Jiménez took the reigns, the all-whites have won five games, drawn three and lost six.

After 16 consecutive matches at the bottom of the table, the “in extremis” victory against  Sporting Gijón - direct rival - saw Zaragoza jump to the 18th spot of the table. Before that, the team won two games in a row; the first against Atlético Madrid (1-0) and against Valencia (1-2 - despite finishing the match with nine men).

Three notable absences and two ex-Barça B players

Jiménez will not be able to use three of his favourite players on Saturday: the defender Mateos, the midfielder Apoño and the striker Luis García. Two ex-Barça B players, however, will be ready should Jiménez call on them to play against their former team: Abraham Minero and Edu Oriol.