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Barcelona vs Almería, La Liga: Team News, Match Preview

Barcelona vs Almería, La Liga: Team News, Match Preview

FC Barcelona (4th, 35pts) vs UD Almería (20th, 5pts).

Barça wants to defeat the worst team in the league to cap off a disappointing season and end it on a high note.

After a disappointing draw away to Valencia over the weekend, Barcelona will host bottom-of-the-table Almería at the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium on Wednesday evening for their final La Liga match of 2023.

 

The match against Almería is the final one that truly matters. Barça will receive a large sum of money to fly to the United States immediately following this game for a pre-Christmas friendly against Club Amería at the Cowboys’ stadium in Dallas before they head into the holiday break.

 

In fact, it matters for everything in the current situation. After two terrible losses to Girona and Antwerp, as well as a very frustrating night at the Mestalla where Barça should have won handily but missed huge opportunities in every manner possible, allowing the hosts to rally and steal a point for the evening, Barça are in desperate need of some good news.

 

Unless things truly take a turn for the worse, Xavi Hernández may be safe in his position through the end of the season. However, if the coach wishes to stay in charge after this one, he will need to lead Barça to a historic La Liga comeback as well as a successful run in Europe and the local cup competitions.

And this is your chance to seize an easy victory and get back on track, if there ever was one. Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows that I make an effort to show as much respect as I can to every opponent Barça plays, as football has advanced to the point where teams no longer need to have exceptional talent to be competitive.

 

Nevertheless, Almería are not good. Really, really bad. With just 5 points from 17 games, they have one of the worst starts in La Liga history and have not yet won a league game this season. They are dealing with several injuries to some of their best players after being eliminated from the Copa del Rey by a Fourth Division team, who coincidentally will play Barça in the next round in a few weeks.

 

This Almería team should have no trouble finding the back of the net, even against a Barça team that is having a hard time scoring goals. Their defense has already given up almost 40 goals, and they lack a true defensive structure.

However, Barça will be without Pedri due to injury and Frenkie de Jong due to suspension, so creating opportunities could be problematic. As a result, it will be up to Ilkay Gündogan and the two Joãos, Cancelo and Félix, to provide Robert Lewandowski with enough support to return to his peak. Almería will be the easiest team to attack, so Barça should have a field day.

 

It is more than reasonable to expect to win this one, and to start gaining some confidence, a strong showing should also follow.

 

Matchday 18 of the 2023–24 La Liga competition/round

 

Outs and Doubts for Barcelona: Iñigo Martínez, Marcos Alonso, Pedri, Gavi, Marc-André ter Stegen, Frenkie de Jong

 

Lucas Robertone (out), Gonzalo Melero, Marezi, Luis Suárez, Ibrahima Koné, and Marc Pubill (doubt) are the Almería outs and doubts.

 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023, at 7 p.m. CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 6 p.m. GMT (UK), 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT (USA), and 11.30 p.m. IST (India)

 

Location: Montjuïc, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain’s Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companies

 

Guillermo Cuadra Fernández officiated.

Eduardo Prieto Iglesias, VAR

 

How to watch on TV: Movistar La Liga (Spain), Sports18 (India), SuperSport (Nigeria), ESPN Deportes (USA), Viaplay Sports 1 (UK), and others

 

Online viewing options include Movistar+ (Spain), LaLigaTV (UK), and ESPN+ (USA).

LINE UP 

Barcelona (4-3-3): possibile lineups: Peña; Cancelo, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; Fermín, Romeu, Gündogan; Ferran, Lewandowski, Félix

 

Almería (3-4-1-2): Arribas; Embarba, Baptistão; Pozo, Lopy, Baba, Akieme; González, Montes, Chumi

 

ESTIMATION

I’m a little anxious about Barça’s midfield absences, but I don’t think they’ll be the first team to fall to the worst team in the league this year. RIGHT? Yes, exactly: the good guys win 2-0. I believe?

 

 

 

 

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