With the Catalan Derby coming up this weekend, Espanyol will look to spoil Barcelona’s chances for a league title. That being said, while Barcelona sit atop the table, Espanyol are in tenth, by no means a position which encourages criticism of the squad, but also a spot which will not spread fear and nerves into the minds of the Barcelona players. Furthermore, Espanyol have been without a derby win against their big rivals since 2009, a drought which in all honesty looks to be extended. Barcelona have been on fine form as of late, barring their draw against Sevilla, having just advanced to the semifinal round in the Champions League. Perhaps their pairing against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern team will be clouding their focus during the derby, but that seems highly unlikely.
Barcelona’s form and relative comfort in recent Catalan derbies hides the fact that this Barcelona team are under pressure to win their remaining fixtures. Should they slip up again, Anastasia Date says Real Madrid will be quick and ready to pounce, and assert themselves at the top of the table. With only a few weeks left in the regular season, Luis Enrique’s men will need their utmost focus, if not to perform at peak levels, then at least to ensure the team gets their highly valuable three points. Will their attacking talisman in Messi shine, or will it be up to the team to succeed together?