Almeria vs Barcelona predictions and match preview for Sunday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for analysis, team news and predicted lineups as the Catalans head to Andalusia.
|Sunday 26th February 2023
|Power Horse Stadium
Almeria vs Barcelona Preview
The Power Horse Stadium plays host to one of its biggest games in recent years as Barcelona pay Almeria a visit this Sunday. It’ll be a special occasion for the home fans but they’ll be slightly anxious following a disastrous defensive display from their team last time out.
Almeria were 4-0 down at Half-Time against Girona leading to Rubi making four changes at the break. Things got marginally better in the 2nd Half but they still conceded twice more in a 6-2 defeat, their worst outing since returning to the top flight last year. Only bottom club Elche have let in more goals and it remains a bit of a mystery why they didn’t target more defensive cover in January or last summer given they do have a range of good attacking options.
It’ll be interesting to see how Rubi responds here. He’s not a defensive coach by any means so it’s hard to see him being overly cautious despite the elite opposition. With the possible exception of Gonzalo Melero, he should have his whole squad available to him and it seems certain there will be at least personnel changes and potentially tactical ones too after last week’s heavy defeat.
For Xavi, the question is more one of balancing the need to keep players fresh ahead of the Copa del Rey Semi-Final against Real Madrid this coming week. Following Thursday’s Europa League defeat in Manchester, the schedule won’t be quite as packed in the months ahead, but it has been a busy period and he may use this as another opportunity to rotate.
The reaction to another European exit was greeted with criticism both in and outside of Barcelona. Defeat at Old Trafford means they’ve now suffered early exits in four European competitions in the space of just two years. There were at least mitigating circumstances this time with both Pedri and Gavi unavailable against an impressive Manchester United side but Xavi will know that next season they simply have to produce more on the European stage.
Team News & Possible Lineups
Possible XI: Fernando – Chumi, Ely, Babic – Akieme, Samu, Eguaras, Pozo – Robertone – Ramazani, Toure (3-4-1-2)
Possible XI: Ter Stegen – Alba, Alonso, Eric, Kounde – Kessie, Busquets, Gavi – Fati, Lewandowski, Ferran (4-3-3)
Score Prediction: Almeria 1-2 Barcelona
Almeria are much better on home soil than they are away, so Barcelona can’t afford to take this game lightly. However defensively the Andalusians are a limited team and even a rotated visiting attack should be able to create enough opportunities to win this game.
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