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Barcelona logo
La Liga | Gameweek 16
Dec 10, 2023 at 8pm UK
Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys
Girona logo
2 - 4
Lewandowski (19'), Gundogan (90+2')
Araujo (90+8')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Dovbyk (12'), Gutierrez (40'), Fernandez (80'), Stuani (90+5')
Blind (64'), Stuani (90+6')

Preview: Barcelona vs. Girona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga clash between Barcelona and Girona, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys will play host to a huge La Liga contest on Sunday evening, with Catalan rivals Barcelona and Girona, who sit third and second respectively, locking horns.

Girona have been the surprise package in La Liga this season, picking up 38 points from 15 matches to sit second in the table, level on points with leaders Real Madrid, while Barcelona occupy third, four points behind their opponents in this weekend's fascinating contest.

Match preview

Barcelona's Raphinha in action with Atletico Madrid's Rodrigo Riquelme on December 3, 2023© Reuters

There was certainly pressure on Barcelona to pick up a positive result against Atletico Madrid in La Liga last weekend, and a strong performance from Xavi's side saw them claim a 1-0 win, with on-loan Atletico forward Joao Felix netting the only goal of the match in the first period.

The reigning champions boast a record of 10 wins, four draws and one defeat from their 15 league matches this season, which has left them in third spot in the table on 34 points, four points behind both second-placed Girona and leaders Real Madrid on the same number of games.

There has been criticism of head coach Xavi this season, but he has managed to lead the team into the knockout round of the Champions League, meaning that next week's clash with Royal Antwerp in Belgium will be a pressure-free contest for the La Liga giants.

Barcelona will face Girona, Valencia and Almeria in their three league games ahead of the winter break, and there is simply no downplaying the importance of Sunday's match, as the champions will not want to fall further behind the top two at a key stage of the campaign.

The hosts are unbeaten in their seven previous matches with Girona, winning five times in the process, but the points were shared in a goalless draw at Camp Nou last season, while Girona also secured a point in a 2-2 draw at the home of their rivals during the 2018-19 campaign.

Girona coach Michel before the match on September 30, 2023© Reuters

Girona's form this season has been remarkable, boasting a record of 12 wins, two draws and one defeat from their 15 league matches to collect 38 points, which seems them sit second behind Real Madrid due to their inferior head-to-head record with Los Blancos.

Michel's side have the best attack in the league this season, scoring 34 times, six more than Barcelona, but they have shipped 18, which is the joint-most in the top eight.

Girona were held to a 1-1 draw by Athletic Bilbao in La Liga at the end of November, but they bounced back impressively last weekend, recording a 2-1 victory over Valencia, while they thumped Orihuela 5-2 in the Copa del Rey on Thursday to secure their spot in the next round of the competition.

The White and Reds all take on Alaves and Real Betis in their two league games after this one, and it will be fascinating to see their position in the table heading into the winter break.

Girona's start to the campaign is even more remarkable considering that they are playing at this level for just the fourth time, with their best-ever finish proving to be 10th, which occurred both last season and in the 2017-18 campaign.

Barcelona La Liga form:

Barcelona form (all competitions):

Girona La Liga form:

Girona form (all competitions):

Team News

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen on May 14, 2023© Reuters

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been forced to undergo an operation on a back problem, meaning that Inaki Pena will again feature between the sticks this weekend.

Gavi is a long-term absentee due to a serious knee injury, while Inigo Martinez has a hamstring problem, which will rule him out until the start of 2024.

Marcos Alonso could overcome a knock to make the squad, but it is likely to be Andreas Christensen alongside Ronald Araujo in the middle of the defence, with Jules Kounde on the right and Joao Cancelo on the left, meaning that Alejandro Balde might have to accept a spot on the bench once again.

Raphinha should also keep his spot in a forward area alongside Robert Lewandowski and Felix, despite pressure from Lamine Yamal and Ferran Torres.

As for Girona, Yangel Herrera, Joel Roca and Toni Villa are definitely out of the match through injury, while Borja Garcia and Ricard Artero are major fitness doubts.

Eric Garcia is able to face his parent club and should therefore continue in the middle of the defence, while Yan Couto is likely to be the player to benefit from the absence of Herrera in midfield.

Head coach Michel will ring the changes from the side that started in the Copa del Rey on Thursday, with Savio, Miguel Gutierrez and Artem Dovbyk among those set to return, with the latter looking to add to the seven league goals that he has already managed during an impressive campaign to date.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Pena; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Cancelo; F de Jong, Gundogan, Pedri; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Felix

Girona possible starting lineup:
Gazzaniga; E Garcia, D Lopez, Blind; Tsygankov, Couto, A Garcia, Gutierrez; Martin, Dobvyk, Savio

SM words green background

We say: Barcelona 2-1 Girona

This has all of the makings of a fascinating match, and we are expecting some drama on Sunday night. Girona have shown their credentials this season with a series of excellent performances, but Barcelona are the favourites for this contest, and we are expecting the champions to navigate their way to what would be a huge three points at this stage of the campaign.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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