Barcelona will host Cadiz at the Camp Nou for the La Liga encounter on the 19th of April. While Barcelona are second in the table and have been in excellent form in the league, Cadiz are struggling in the relegation zone.
Barcelona will be looking to make it eight successive La Liga victories in a row as they prepare to welcome relegation-threatened Cadiz at the Camp Nou on Monday. The Catalan giants are 12 points behind arch-rivals and league leaders Real Madrid and have a game in hand. On the other hand, Cadiz are 18th in the table, one point behind Mallorca in 17th, while also having a game to spare.
Barcelona’s hopes of lifting a trophy under Xavi this season came to a premature close as they were knocked out by Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals of the Europa League. The Spanish giants suffered a heart-breaking 2-3 loss at the hands of Frankfurt in the second leg of the tie, which saw them losing 4-3 on aggregate.
Perhaps the most inexplicable part of the entire match was how nearly 30,000 Frankfurt fans made their way to the Camp Nou, which almost looked dressed in white in the colours of the visitors. Spanish media, the players and the club personnel were left frustrated in the aftermath of the game and president Joan Laporta has stressed that investigations will be conducted on how it came to pass.
Manager Xavi also touched on this note in the post-match press conference. While a capacity crowd of 90,000 passionate Barcelona fans isn’t a surprise at the Camp Nou on any important matchday, having so many away fans worked against them and the team completely lost the plot on the pitch.
However, getting knocked out of the Europa League will give Barcelona ample time to focus on the La Liga campaign. Theoretically speaking, they can still catch league leaders in Real Madrid, but it is going to be very difficult in the final stretches of the season, especially since they have to depend on Los Blancos dropping points.
Barcelona are level on points with third-placed Sevilla and have a game in hand. They could potentially cut the 12-point gap to Real Madrid down to nine points but the team has appeared to lose steam since returning from the international break. The Catalans had scored goals for fun in the months of February and March which of course, peaked with their 0-4 humbling of Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
However, they haven’t been able to sustain that high-octane tempo and momentum and displays have been more flat-footed in nature lately. That was also the case when Barcelona took on Levante last weekend. Although they came out on top with a 2-3 scoreline, Xavi’s men had to struggle hard. It took a stoppage-time header from substitute Luuk de Jong to secure the vital three points from the contest.
Among the teams in La Liga this season, Barcelona have the fifth-best home record. They’ve picked up 32 points from their 14 games so far at Camp Nou. With that being said, Cadiz have also done well away from home and have secured points in eight of the last 15 away league fixtures, although they are holding on to dear lives in the relegation zone of the table.
Barcelona have made steady progress since appointing Xavi as their new manager last year. They will have a point to prove after unexpectedly crashing out from the Europa League at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt. Only a strong, commanding performance resulting in a dominant win against Cadiz will be able to lift the mood of the players and supporters.
Cadiz, meanwhile, are 18th in the table and have 28 points to their name. The trail 17th-placed Mallorca by just one point, but do have a game in hand. That could prove to be their escape route from the relegation zone before the end of the season but they cannot afford to rest on their laurels.
Cadiz were simply brilliant on their return to La Liga last season and they ended up finishing as high as 12th. They also secured a wonderful victory over Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona last season. However, they have found it much more difficult to compete during this particular campaign.
Sergio Gonzalez’s side will arrive into this clash following a 1-2 loss at home against Real Betis in the previous weekend. Cadiz have lost only two of the last eight league matches, which has kept them within touching distance of the teams above them in the points table.
They will face a tough conclusion to the season as they are supposed to take on Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla, Elche, and Real Sociedad. Cadiz cannot afford to head to the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian on the final weekend, needing a desperate result to stay in the top flight.
Cadiz took four points off Barcelona’s La Liga campaign last season. Cadiz also held the Catalan giants to a goalless draw the last time these two sides met each other in September.
BAR vs CAD, La Liga 2021/22
Date: 19th April, 2022
Time: 12:30 AM IST
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Barcelona La Liga form:
Barcelona form (all competitions):
Cadiz La Liga form:
Cadiz form (all competitions):
Barcelona wins: 19
Cadiz wins: 2
Barcelona Team News: After a couple of months with little to no relative injury concerns, Barcelona have been hit by depressing news once again. Start midfielder Pedri suffered a hamstring injury against Frankfurt last Thursday. Had to be taken off. Scans done on him after the match showed that Pedri will not be available for the remainder of the season.
Samuel Umtiti and Sergi Roberto to continue to be long-term absentees for Barcelona. Meanwhile, center-back Gerard Pique’s participation is also in doubt for this clash as the team management will be in no mood to hurry him and risk getting injured again.
That is also the case with star forward Ansu Fati who has been on the sidelines with a hamstring injury for a long time. Even though he has resumed light training, it is unlikely that he will be included in the matchday squad for the next weeks at the very least.
Uruguayan defender Ronald Araujo will also not feature for the home side after accumulating suspension in the previous clash. Therefore, Clement Lenglet, who gave away a penalty against Levante with his first touch of the match, could partner Eric Garcia in defence. Youngster Gavi is expected to take Pedri’s spot in midfield.
It is unlikely that Xavi will make many changes in the frontline. Ousmane Dembele, Ferran Torres, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang look set to start.
Cadiz Team News: Varazdat Haroyan and Florian Andone are expected to miss this mega clash through injury. Meanwhile, Iza is also a doubt for Cadiz.
Ruben Alcaraz will be serving his suspension after picking up a yellow card in the previous match against Real Betis. Meanwhile, Jose Mari will be back from his own ban and he is expected to start this encounter.
Lucas Perez and Alvaro Negredo are expected to spearhead the frontline in a 4-4-2 formation.
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Alves, Lenglet, E Garcia, Alba; F de Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Dembele, Aubameyang, Torres
Cadiz possible starting lineup:
Ledesma; Akapo, Chust, Hernandez, Espino; Alejo, Mari, Fede, Idrissi; Negredo, Perez
Barcelona have not quite been firing on all cylinders over the past couple of weeks. They will need a changing of gears as far as the intensity is concerned. However, injuries and suspensions to key players leave Barcelona with a shaky defence and this could prove to be a tricky game against Cadiz who are known to punch well above their weight.
Cadiz will be desperate for all three points to make it out of the relegation battle and they already know how to frustrate Barcelona. Besides, they will also be the fresher of the two sides. Xavi will be desperate to avoid another forgettable performance, especially after the disappointing loss to Frankfurt in the midweek.