Heading into derby, Espanyol in need of a point to avoid relegation

Leo Messi and FC Barcelona played to a scorless draw at Espanyol in their first La Liga clash this season. / MIGUEL RUIX - FCB
Barça’s cross-town rivals are coming off a win over Sevilla, but are still one click away from securing a spot in the First Division next season

FC Barcelona’s penultimate challenge in their final sprint for the league title comes at 5.00pm CET this Sunday at Camp Nou against RCD Espanyol.

Espanyol are coming off an upset victory over Sevilla last weekend that has brought them to within a single point of guaranteeing permanence in the top flight for next season.

Ups and downs

Espanyol’s 1–0 victory over Sevilla in Week 36 of La Liga was their first win in over a month. They are currently in 14th place in the standings with 40 points, five above the relegation zone, with a record of 11 wins, 18 losses and 7 draws.

It has not been an easy season for the Blanquiazules. The 67 goals they’ve given up is the second highest in the league, and they’ve only been able to get 29 points and just 11 on the road this season. To make matters worse, Espanyol will be without top scorer Felipe Caicedo when they face Barça this weekend. Caicedo has 8 goals in 30 games.

Key players out this Sunday

Besides Caicedo, Espanyol will be without defensive stalwarts Álvaro González and Oscar Duarte, who are both serving one-game bans after seeing their fifth yellow cards against Sevilla.

Álvaro leads Espanyol with 3,137 minutes played in 35 appearances.