Sunday October 2, 2011 (19.00 UK)
Estadio Municipal El Molinon – Gijon
Sporting have only picked up one point so far this season and look unlikely to add anymore when they host Barcelona on Sunday. As Marca aptly noted, the team suffers from chronic laziness and has yet to pick up more than five points in the first five games of the season since their promotion in back in 2008. However, as their players noted, when it comes to facing a giant like Barcelona, their motivation levels increase as they search for a way to inflict an upset. Attempting to remain compact, their strategy will be to close down space to limit they away team’s movement in-between the lines.
As for Barcelona, they will be hoping everything goes to plan as they search for all three points considering their habit of racking up 2-2 score-lines recently. Carles Puyol is a doubt having suffered a bruise to a rib but Pep Guardiola will be hoping he recovers in time to secure another win to maintain their advantage over bitter rivals Real Madrid.
Sporting Gijon (4-2-3-1): Pablo; Lora, Botia, Hernandez, Canella; Egueren, Cases; De Las Cuevas, Castro, Trejo; Barral
League form: Last five home D-L-L-W-D
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Pedro, Messi, Villa
League form: Last five away D-D-W-D-L
Did you know…Lionel Messi has scored eight goals and delivered five assists so far in the domestic league – more than any other player.