Preview: Barcelona v Girona

Early La Liga pacesetters Barcelona will look to continue their fine run of form when they host Girona at Camp Nou on Sunday.

La Liga

23 September 2018

Game week 5

Kick-off: 20h45 (GMT+2), 02h45 Saturday HKT

Venue: Camp Nou

Referee: J. Gil

Assistant referees: A. Nevado, J. Martinez

Fourth official: S. Uson

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Barcelona 2 2 0 0
Girona 2 0 0 2

Previous encounter:

Barcelona 6-1 Girona (24/02/2018) La Liga

Barcelona goalscorers: L. Suarez (5′, 44′, 76′), L. Messi (30′, 36′), P. Coutinho (66′)
Girona goalscorer: Portu (3′)

Players to watch:

Lionel Messi is back to his best after a frustrating World Cup campaign with Argentina, and after four goals in his opening four league matches, he netted a stunning hat-trick against PSV Eindhoven in midweek.

Cristhian Stuani is the in-form man for Girona, having scored three goals in their last two games. For all their riches in attack, Barcelona will have to be well-guarded at the back to nullify his threat.

Team form and manager quotes:

Barca head into this game riding high after six wins from six competitive fixtures this season. Their coach, Ernesto Valverde, heaped praise on Messi after his hat-trick against PSV in their last match. “Messi does extraordinary things and makes them routine,” he said, according to his club’s official website.

Come Sunday, Valverde will be up against former Barcelona player Eusebio Sacristan, now in charge of Girona. With seven points from four league matches to date, Sacristan’s side has got the season off to an impressive start.

“We are now in a good situation, in terms of points, the atmosphere in the squad, the consistency, the strength,” the coach said, as quoted by Football Espana.

“Now we move to a play a very complicated match, at Barcelona, where it is very difficult to score, but this has to give us strength and motivation.”

Team news:

Malcom, Sergi Samper and Denis Suarez are reportedly carrying injuries for Barcelona, as are Anthony Lozano, Planas, Ramalho and Johan Mojica for their opponents.

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