Runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona head to the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos to encounter relegation-battling Almeria on Sunday evening.
Deeply embroiled in a scrappy battle for survival, Los Rojiblancos start this round outside the drop zone, albeit they’re level on points with 18th-placed Cadiz.
But since they’re only three points adrift of 12th-placed Sevilla, multiple scenarios are still on the cards for Rubi’s men, who have lost their last three league matches by an aggregate score of 11-4.
Last weekend’s humiliating 6-2 defeat at fellow promoted rivals Girona saw Almeria become the second side to concede at least 40 goals in La Liga this season after dead-last Elche.
Ominously for Rubi’s fragile defensive set-up, the league’s second-most prolific frontline comes to town looking to make amends for another disappointing European night.
Despite taking a first-half lead through Robert Lewandowski, Barcelona slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Manchester United in the return leg of their Europa League knockout play-off tie on Thursday.
Without the distraction of European football for the rest of the season, Xavi Hernandez’s charges can switch their undivided attention towards capturing a first La Liga title since 2018/19.
They boast a formidable eight-point lead over defending champions Real Madrid at the commencement of this round after stitching together seven consecutive league wins at the start of the year.
Having failed to win any of their 13 meetings with Barcelona in La Liga (D2, L11), conceding an average of three goals per game, Almeria are all too aware they’ll have to look for points elsewhere.
Adding to this sentiment, Rubi’s lads have claimed just one win in four home league matches in 2023 (D1, L2) and have yet to keep a clean sheet on home turf this calendar year.
After Girona put six goals past them last weekend, Almeria could be at genuine risk of re-experiencing their joint-heaviest defeat ever, which saw Barcelona humble them 8-0 at this venue in 2010.
Despite crashing out of Europe, Barcelona can still win a domestic treble this term, having already pipped Madrid to the Supercopa de Espana trophy in January.
Xavi’s men are on the brink of winning eight straight La Liga games for the first time in over four years and after going unbeaten on their last ten league travels to Andalusia (W7, D3), this should be a routine task.
In addition to boasting intimidating firepower, Barcelona are almost impossible to score against, conceding just seven times in 22 La Liga matches this season.
Almeria vs Barcelona Potential Line-ups
Almeria (4-3-3): Fernando Martinez; Houboulang Mendes, Chumi, Rodrigo Ely, Sergio Akieme; Lucas Robertone, Cesar de la Hoz, Samu Costa; Largie Ramazani, Luis Suarez, El Bilal Toure.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Andres Christensen, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Franck Kessie; Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Gavi.
How to Watch?
Almeria vs Barcelona, alongside all other La Liga matches this season, is available to watch live online via Barcelona live streams.
Almeria vs Barcelona Prediction
Despite their midweek heartbreak at Old Trafford, we firmly back Barcelona to triumph at Almeria by a multi-goal margin.
Almeria 0-3 Barcelona
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