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Preview: Barcelona vs. Deportivo La Coruna - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of unbeaten Barcelona's home match against Deportivo La Coruna at Camp Nou.

Barcelona will attempt to keep their momentum going ahead of next weekend's El Clasico showdown when welcoming lowly Deportivo La Coruna to Camp Nou on Sunday evening.

The Catalans remain unbeaten and have just two more games to navigate - including the upcoming trip to champions Madrid - before a deserved rest over the winter break.


Ernesto Valverde pictured in 2016© SilverHub

Pre-season talk of a crisis now firmly behind them, Barcelona head into the final stages of the opening half of the campaign sitting comfortably at the top of La Liga after winning 12 of their first 15 matches.

A point at home to Deportivo this weekend will effectively confirm their status as top dogs heading into the winter hiatus, regardless of how their huge showdown with Madrid pans out in a little over a week's time.

For now it is not the defending Spanish and European champions that manager Ernesto Valverde will be most concerned about, though, as Valencia and Atletico Madrid appear to the biggest threat to a seventh title in 10 years.

The second and third-placed sides have winnable fixtures a day prior to Barca's home match with Deportivo, travelling to mid-table Eibar and hosting relegation-threatened Alaves respectively - a chance to close the gap substantially before the leaders kick a ball.

Barcelona are very much back on track in La Liga following last weekend's win at Villarreal, when battling to the three points thanks to goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi for the second time in a week - both goals coming in the final quarter of the match.

Three draws in four matches overall may have had supporters worried, even if their side still had a hefty advantage to protect them domestically, but it is now back-to-back wins over the last week or so against Villarreal and Sporting Lisbon.

Returning to winning ways on home soil in La Liga is now the next order of the day, having been held to a surprise 2-2 draw by an entertaining Celta Vigo side two weeks ago, seeing them fall one game short of a perfect 13 wins from 13 at Camp Nou over the past 12 months.

Deportivo are unlikely to pose as much of a threat, however, as Barca have already brushed aside three of the bottom four sides, winning each game without conceding a goal.

Recent form in La Liga: WWWDDW
Recent form (all competitions): DDWDWW

Deportivo La Coruna

Lionel Messi in action during the La Liga game between Barcelona and Real Madrid on December 3, 2016© SilverHub

Deportivo, now under the management of Cristobal Parralo following Pepe Mel's sacking in October, are in desperate need of points to climb back up the division.

Last weekend's 1-0 victory over Leganes came at a crucial time, with Adrian Lopez scoring the only goal of the game to end the Blue and Whites' four-match winless run in the Spanish top flight.

One point from the last 12 on offer left La Coruna in a precarious position prior to that much-needed win a week ago, though the gap on the bottom three is still only three points ahead of this daunting trip to Catalonia.

Parallo's men have won just one of their seven away matches this term, meanwhile, as well as picking up a couple of draws, with their most recent victory coming against a down-and-out Las Palmas side at the end of October.

Confidence will no doubt have been boosted by their slender victory over surprise package Leganes, though, and Deportivo also know how to pull off a shock win against Barca thanks to victory in the most recent encounter nine months ago.

Much has changed since then, of course, not least Barcelona's ability to see off the division's lesser sides on a consistent basis, and the Blues and Whites' record against the division's elite this term does not make for great reading.

In games against Sevilla, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid - positioned fifth, fourth and third respectively - Deportivo have lost all three, conceding six goals and failing to score any in reply.

Barca have uncharacteristically let in three goals in their last four matches, however, while Depor's return of 18 for the term is not the worst scoring tally - top scorer Lucas Perez responsible for four of those - so Parralo will be praying for another big upset.

Recent form in La Liga: WLLLDLW
Recent form (all competitions): LLDWLW

Team News

Andres Iniesta in action for Barcelona in December 2016© SilverHub

Centre-back Samuel Umtiti remains absent for the long-term, so Thomas Vermaelen is enjoying a run in the heart of defence alongside Gerard Pique.

Andres Iniesta was left out last weekend so should be fit enough to feature in this one, while Paulinho has impressed since joining in the summer and is now a key performer.

Suarez and Messi will again be picked up top, meanwhile, having both netted in Barca's last two league outings, with Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic expected to pull the midfield strings.

In terms of the visitors, Perez leads the scoring charts with four goals but last got off the mark a month ago - a run stretching four games - and could do with some attacking support.

Fede Cartabia will play no part, however, as he will spend the next couple of months on the sidelines through injury, meaning that Carles Gil should start out wide.

Elsewhere, Parralo may give Fernando Navarro the nod at left-back, and further forward Emre Colak is favourite to start just off Perez.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Paulinho; Messi, L.Suarez

Deportivo La Coruna possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Juanfran, Schar, Sidnei, Navarro; Guilherme, Borges; Gil, Colak, Lopez; Perez

Head To Head

Deportivo's victory over Barca at the Riazor in March was the Catalan giants' first in La Liga in five months, ultimately playing a big part in Madrid's eventual title success.

Since the Blue and Whites' return to La Liga in 2012, the two sides have faced off eight times - Barca winning five of those and losing just one.

Thirty-eight goals have also been scored across those fixtures, nine of which came in a 5-4 win for Barcelona in 2012-13, while the most recent meeting at Camp Nou finished 4-0 in their favour.

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We say: Barcelona 3-0 Deportivo La Coruna

Barcelona should have few problems in seeing off Deportivo on Sunday, helping to open up an insurmountable lead at the top of the division ahead of their trip to the Bernabeu. They may have lost their 100% league record at Camp Nou last time out, but anything less than a straightforward win on this occasion really would be a shock.

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