FC Barcelona takes on Turkish club Galatasaray in the round of 16 of the UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE at Camp Nou. Barcelona will be hoping to extend their amazing attacking form on Thursday. Blaugrana returned to Europa League for the first time since 2004.
Xavi’s men demolished Napoli 2-4 on the road in the reverse fixture of their last 32 round tie two weeks ago at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. They have generally been scoring goals for fun, namely Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who bagged five goals in the last three outings for the Catalans. The Gabonese forward completed a hat-trick in the 1-4 thumping of Valencia away at Estadio de Mestalla.
Galatasaray has had a turbulent season in general. They have recently parted ways with the club’s legend Fatih Terim as Spanish manager Domenec Torrent took charge. Galatasaray did manage to improve their displays under the new manager and they will travel to Camp Nou on the back of straight wins. They have bagged seven goals in the victories over Goztepe (2-3) and Rizespor (4-2). However, Torrent certainly has a lot to worry about when it comes to his team’s backline ahead of the clashes with free-scoring Barcelona.
- It has been exactly two decades since these two teams last met each other.
- They battled it out in the group stage of UEFA Champions League as Barcelona claimed two easy wins, both by two goals difference.
- Barcelona won three and drew one of the last four meetings with Galatasaray.
While the results have been going Barcelona’s Way, the injury crisis has also come down since the arrival of the new medical team and Dr. Richard Pruna. But still, Barca has some injury and suspension going into the match.
- Ansu Fati- Injured due to Hamstring. Will return by April.
- Sergi Roberto- Thigh Injury. No exact date for returning.
- Samuel Umtiti- Foot Fracture. Will return by the end of April.
- Alejandro Balde- Ankle Injury. Exact date for recovery is still unknown.
- Pablo Gavi- Suspended after receiving 3 yellow cards. And will serve a 1 match Suspension.
- Arda Turan- Groin Strain and Physical issues and is highly unlikely that he will travel with the squad to Spain.
- Fatih Ozturk- Will be out due to Vestibular Disorder.
- No Suspension list for Galatasaray but still few players are in danger of playing the 2nd leg if they receive one more yellow at Camp Nou.
- Omer Bayram
- Mostafa Mohamed
PREDICTED STARTING LINEUP
- TER STEGEN (GOALKEEPER)
- RONALD ARAUJO (CENTRE BACK)
- GERARD PIQUE (CENTRE BACK)
- SERGINO DEST (RIGHT BACK)
- JORDI ALBA (LEFT BACK)
- F.DE. JONG
- FERRAN TORRES
- ADAMA TRAORE
- INAKI PENA
- S. BOEY
- E Pulgar
- B. KUTLU
- R. BABEL
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT
The former Arsenal Captain was stripped of his captaincy and was left out of the squad due to disciplinary issues. And as Barca was struggling with a center-forward position and also Memphis was out due to an injury it was essential for Management to buy the Gabonese striker for free after being released by Arsenal. Turned out, indeed, he was one of the best signings this winter transfer as Aubameyang has scored a hat trick against Valencia at Mestalla and also scored another goal at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium while playing the playoff round against Napoli away from home. His speed and making a run behind will definitely be a threat to Galatasaray’s defense. He has become a regular Starter for Xavi and is expected to start this match at Camp Nou.
There had been disputes over Dembele’s contract renewal for the past few months. The club tried to sell him in the winter transfer window. And the management intended to take his seat in the stands but manager Xavi decided to use the best out of him for results and to qualify for next season’s UCL. Dembele has been professional and had quality minutes whenever he had come onto the pitch. His inclusion in the match against Athletic Bilbao changed the whole match while getting 2 assists and 1 goal his performance against Valencia was also quite good. Overall, his role as a super-sub has been quite a good tactic from Xavi. He might not start the match against Galatasaray but might end up as a super Sub changing things around with his pace and goal-scoring techniques.
The Egyptian striker has been in good form in the Super Ligue but had struggled to get goals in the UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE. Mohamed has scored 6 goals in 21 appearances with 1 assist. And only got 1 assist in the Europa League. He has been an important player for Galatasaray at the top. And his presence at the top will test Barca’s defense. Galatasaray will look to test Barca on the counterattack With his shooting abilities. Mostafa Mohamed will look to break his goal-scoring in the Europa League and that too against an opponent like Barcelona at Camp Nou might be quite interesting for him too.
The Barcelona Goalkeeper was sent on loan to Galatasaray till the end of the season to gain some Experience and also get playtime. And he has been getting regular minutes under Torrent. He has now become a regular goalkeeper for them after the injury of Fatih Ozturk. Inaki Pena has not been able to keep a clean sheet out of the 5 matches he had played. But this will be a good opportunity for him to make an impact on his former club and make them believe that he can be a regular starter for Barcelona. This match will be more than a Reunion for both Barca and Inaki Pena.
Barcelona had been in good form both in La Liga and Against Napoli in the playoffs. They had been scoring an immense number of goals and also keeping a clean sheet at the same time. While Galatasaray had been struggling and are currently sitting in the 12th position in Super Ligue. Will Barcelona continue their unbeaten run under Xavi or will Galatasaray provide them with a shock at Camp Nou??
OUR PREDICTION-: BARCELONA- 3 GALATASARAY- 0
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