What: Spanish La Liga
Who: Barcelona vs Deportivo La Coruna
When: Saturday 9th March, 2013, at 19:00 UK Time
Where: Cam Nou, Barcelona, Spain


It may be hard to believe, but it seems as if the Catalans are a team without an identity. The league leaders have been in awful form lately, succumbing to defeats that crashed them out of the Copa del Rey and have put their chances of Champions League glory in jeopardy. The team are low on morale, missing coach Tito Vilanova and in dire need of Josep Guardiola’s guidance, but will have to do without both as they welcome bottom side Deportivo La Coruna to the Camp Nou.

It is something that the team have not experienced much. The departure of Guardiola was intended to be a smooth; a calm passing of the torch to assistant Vilanova. In a way, it has been, as the Blaugrana reigned supreme over the league. But their coach’s absence has left them vulnerable and without a leader, burying the notion that the team do not need a manager to operate.

Thankfully for them, things will be a bit easier at home this time: The team are eager to make amends with the fans and Barcelona have displayed some very good football generally this season, even more so on home soil, as they have won eleven times and drawn once in twelve league home games so far. The team have also managed to keep clean sheets against the Galician side in the last three meetings at the Camp Nou.

No Improvements

Deportivo La Coruna come to Catalonia with the hope of a miracle. The side are currently bottom of the league table, with 17 points after 26 league games. They are eight points away from the safe zone and given how things have been going for them lately, it will require a miracle for them to stay in La Liga next season.

Their adversaries have been in a horrible form, but Deportivo La Coruna coach Fernando Vasquez believes that his side will find it extremely hard on the night.

“They are going to play at a tremendous speed. We have to be better than against Rayo [Vallecano] in terms of our aggressiveness level. In terms of possession they [Barcelona] are a Ferrari, and the team have to be prepared for that speed", he added, warning that Barcelona will want to show that they are "alive, aware, and on the right path before meeting Milan."

Vasquez is still without a win away from home since taking charge of the side and his team have suffered five defeats in their last six league games. Their horrific away record on the road – winless in their last 23 league games – means that it will be very hard for them to usurp Barcelona, even when their foes are at a low point.

Recent form

Barcelona 2-1 Sevilla (23/02; La Liga)
Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid (26/02; Copa del Rey)
Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona (02/03; La Liga)

Deportivo La Coruna:
Sevilla 3-1 Deportivo La Coruna (15/02; La Liga)
Deportivo La Coruna 1-2 Real Madrid (23/02; La Liga)
Deportivo La Coruna 0-0 Rayo Vallecano (02/03; La Liga)

Key absences

Barcelona: Xavi; Victor Valdes (suspended)

Deportivo La Coruna: Riki; Ze Castro; Kaka; Carlos Marchena (suspended)

Players to watch

Barcelona – Lionel Messi: It is times like these where the Blaugrana need their talisman the most. The little Argentinean was anonymous against Milan and both games against Real Madrid. Second to none in the modern game, he needs to resurrect his side in this one.

Deportivo La Coruna – Pizzi: The Portuguese man, on loan from Atletico Madrid, has been one of his side’s best players, scoring seven goals and assisting another five so far this term, of which two were against Barcelona the last time the two sides met. He will be hoping for more of the same.

Match Prediction

Barcelona losing yet again is an inconceivable matter, given their opponents’ horrific form and standing and the fact that they will dispute this game at home. The league aspirers will want to get back to winning ways as they prepare for a hard game against AC Milan next week, and should be able to record a resounding win.

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