On Valentine’s Day, the 174th edition of the Barcelona Derby at La Liga is set at Cornellà-El Prat as Espanyol look to end their longstanding drought as they play host to streaking FC Barcelona.
The upcoming match is the reverse fixture of their November 20 meeting at Camp Nou, an early second half penalty by Memphis Depay gave Xavi a winning start to the latter’s career as Barcelona manager.
Both sides had contrasting fortunes since their first meeting, which was evident in their performance on week 23.
Barça bucked an early deficit to register a commanding 4-2 win at home over reigning champions Atlético Madrid. Meanwhile, Espanyol suffered a heartbreaker in their away match against Athletic despite scoring first in their encounter.
La Liga is the lone domestic competition remaining for the two squads, as both are eliminated at the round of 16 of Copa del Rey last month.
This is one of the most played fixtures in the Spanish top flight. At the same time, it is one of the most lopsided matchups, with the Blaugrana only losing 34 times in the entire history of the derby.
Their win on week 14 extended their unbeaten league run against the Periquitos to 23 matches, their most recent defeat dating all the way back to 2009, when Espanyol stunned the treble-winning home side.
Although Espanyol’s most recent derby win came in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals four years ago, one must go back to the 2006-07 season for their last home win in the league, where goals by Luis García, Raúl Tamudo, and Francisco Rufete secured them a 3-1 win at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys.
Recent form (last five matches)
lost to Athletic Bilbao, 1-2
lost to Real Betis, 1-4
drew with Cádiz, 2-2
lost to Mallorca, 1-2
lost to Elche, 1-2
defeated Atlético Madrid, 4-2
defeated Deportivo Alavés, 1-0
lost to Athletic Bilbao, 2-3 (at extra time)
lost to Real Madrid, 2-3 (at extra time)
drew with Granada, 1-1
It is clearly obvious that the form and history are in Barcelona’s favor, which is why in every derby they are the overwhelming favorites.
FC Barcelona to win
Over 2.5 goals