Four days after our huge, important away win against Elche in La Liga. Barça now return to action at the Camp Nou in the Europa League, facing Turkish side Galatasaray. Coming into this game, we are off the back of some fantastic performances, unforgettably in our very last Europa game against Napoli. Where we went on to win that game 4-1 away from home (5-2 on aggregate). Although in our last game on the weekend, we struggled a little more to get over the line. But in that performance, we showed a lot of fighting spirit and character to come back from being 1-0 down.
To eventually winning the game 2-1. Another thing that we can still be positive about is the fact that we continue to create a load of chances. Meaning that our expected goals number is generally a high amount. We’ve got to ensure that in tonight’s game, we are clinical with our finishing. Going into the away fixture with a healthy lead would be huge for us. And would allow us to build on that in what will be a very tough atmosphere next week. Despite Galatasaray’s struggles this season, they are still a serious, well established team who could cause us problems if we don’t approach the game with the right mind set. Like I always say, starting off on the front foot is vital!
A quick look at our opponent
With Galatasaray this season, it really has been a tale of two completions. In their respective leave, they’ve been more than disappointing. Meaning that they currently find themselves in 12th place. In fact, they’re closer to the relegation zone than they are top the top of the table. Scoring 37 goals and conceding 41 in the process. They’re also coming into this game off the back of a disappointing 2-0 loss on the weekend. However, when you contrast that to their form in the europa league, things are very different. They finished top of their group table, remaining unbeaten in the 6 games. Drawing 3 and winning 3 as a result.
There are also a number of players in this team who we would recognise, Ex Swansea’s Bafetimbi Gomis and the Uruguayan shot stoppper mislead to name a few. However, possibly and if not definitely the most familiar is Our very own Inaki Peña. He’s currently on loan at Galatasaray until the end of the season. This match is poised to be his “audition” to prove if we can rely on him for next season as our backup goalie. He’s a player we have a lot of faith and trust in for the future of Barça and he’ll be looking to back that up with a positive performance tonight. We just need to hope that he doesn’t follow the trend of other goalkeepers and turn into prime neuer when we face him.
In terms of the lineup for tonight’s game, we are expecting to see a few changes. Xavi said in his pre match conference that due to some players being tired and wracking up a load of minutes over the last few weeks, there will be a few rotations. Forced and intentional. We’re going to be without our young star Gavi for the match later on after an accumulation of yellow cards. He’s banned for this game but he will be back for the second leg. Dani Alves is of course not registered so he won’t be in the squad. Apart from those 2, we are fortunate to still have a fully fit team. Meaning that we can afford to make a few rotations, in order to keep things fresh and players hungry,
As for this I can see Ter Stegen starting in goal, after a pretty solid performance on the weekend. Dest should start at Right back, partnered alongside Araujo, Pique and Jordi Alba. In midfield, I have a feeling that Busi will be rested, meaning that we could see a trio of Pedri, Nico and Frenkie which sounds very exciting. In the attack, we are blessed with a number of attacking options. After making a huge impact off the bench against Elche, Ferran Torres is expected to come back into the starting lineup. He’ll most likely be alongside Aubameyang down the middle and Adama Traore on the right hand side.
Dest- Araujo- Pique- Alba
Pedri- Nico- Frenkie
Adama- Aubameyang- Ferran