The last time Barcelona prepared themselves for a derby game at the Camp Nou was the massive El Clasico against Real Madrid. On Friday another derby will be hosted by the iconic stadium - but a much smaller one in stature -- the Catalan Derby against Espanyol.
Lionel Messi during a training session for Barcelona ahead of the Champions League game against AC Milan, October 21
Barca have dominated this fixture for quite a while now with Espanyol's only recent success coming in a 2-1 win in 2009.
Sitting pretty at the top of the table, Barcelona will be expected to romp to another three points, although Espanyol cannot be taken for granted.
"I know we can do better and we have an important margin of improvement, but seeing the results we've secured in these three months, we can only be optimistic about the future," said Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino.
"It is an important match because we have to do things well. I expect Espanyol to be combative and dangerous."
Martino admitted Barcelona's pattern of play and form was a bit up and down at the start of the season, but the manager feels the side are now hitting their straps.
"At the beginning we had dips in form but now we are more consistent," he added. "We could still do better with controlling matches, however. It doesn't suit us to have a feeling of not being in control, because our players are very decisive. The ideal is that our rivals feel as though they don't have control."
Team News: Martino has decided to rest Adriano, with Barcelona playing their third match in seven days. Gerard Pique returns to the squad, with Isaac Cuanca, Ibrahim Afellay and Jordi Alba all out.
Espanyol have no new injury worries with goalkeeper Kiko Casilla believing his side are capable of causing a huge upset on Friday night.
"We all know how important the derby with Barcelona is," he said. "We will go to Camp Nou and try to go all out. We'll have to play with intensity and try to stay focused for the entire 90 minutes.
"It's not going to be easy but it won't be impossible. I have total respect for the Barca players, but I am not afraid of them.
"If you're scared of playing against Barcelona then you might as well stay at home."
Key men: Barcelona: Lionel Messi will be keen to get his scoring boots on, and Espanyol will be wary of a masterclass from the Argentine wonder.
Espanyol: Simao has played several big games in his career and the midfielder will be keen to make an impression against the Spanish giants.
Where to watch
The game is scheduled for a 1.30 am IST start on Saturday morning with live coverage on ESPN and ESPN HD. You can also catch the match live by clicking the official link HERE.
Expected lineups: Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Montoya; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Fabregas, Messi, Neymar.
Espanyol: Casilla; Felipe, Sidnei, Moreno, Hernandez; Sanchez, Pizzi, , David Lopez, Simao; Garcia, Cordoba.
Prediction: 5-1 to Barcelona
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