Barcelona lead the La liga table by 6 points after winning away against Girona. Real Madrid are set to face Real Sociedad at home and will be looking to restore the lead back to 3 points. The Catalonia derby was Pedri’s 100th appearance for Barcelona and the midfielder scored the only goal of the match. Barcelona debuted their traditional La Senyera design as 4th kit in the derby.
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Barcelona lead extended provisionally
Xavi’s Barcelona faced Girona at Estadi Montilivi in Catalonia derby. Xavi missed the services of Lewandowski and Ferran Torres who were serving their suspension. Pedri, Balde and Christensen were rested for the fixture with Eric, Alonso starting. Barcelona reverted back to 3 man midfield and Raphinha started along with Fati and Dembele as other two forwards. Dembele was subbed off in the first half due to injury. Pedri came off the bench to replace the French winger. It was the 100th club appearance for the midfielder from Canary islands. Pedri became the second youngest to make 100 appearances for Barcelona surpassing Messi. It was an average first half performance from Xavi’s boys after an impressive Copa Del Rey outing against La Real.
Alba came off the bench in place of Alonso at the start of second half. Girona were holding their defence tight and prevented Barca from running away with an easy win. Pedri scored right after the hour mark to give Xavi a much needed lead. Alba’s cross got denied by Gazzaniga but ended right at Pedri’s path who converted the chance at ease from close range. Eric Garcia grabbed his opportunity with both hands and had a great outing in the derby. Girona pulled back an equaliser within few minutes of Pedri goal. Martinez was offside and the referee rightfully ruled off the equaliser. Ter Stegan ended the game with another clean sheet and Barcelona extend their lead at top with 6 points. Real Madrid faces Real Sociedad at Bernabeu in an hour and the fixture is key for Madrid’s title charge.
Dembele has picked up an injury after a long duration. The French winger reached the best of his fitness under Xavi’s staff. Tests carried out by the club determine a rupture in anterior rectus of his left leg. Dembele is out of action for five weeks and will likely miss the entire fixture against Manchester United. The club statement says the evolution of injury will determine is return date. Dembele’s injury opens up the chance for Raphinha, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati to claim a spot and become a regular starter. Barcelona travel to Seville to face Real Betis in a midweek fixture. Madrid will face Valencia in the same midweek fixture after these four teams missed matchday 17 due to Spanish Super Cup.