Cádiz (W1, D2, L2) are off the mark thanks to their 2-1 La Liga (LL) win over Celta Vigo last time out and although they’re two points worse off than they were at this stage last term, they’re in a mid-table position – just as they were at the end of 2020/21. With six out of eight league goals conceded this term coming after half-time, stronger second-half defending should help them stay there.
Although winless in four LL home games (D1, L3), ‘Los Piratas’ might fancy their chances of holding off an injury-ravaged Barcelona outfit given they beat them here last year (and drew away). In fact, getting back to winning ways here as hosts would see them move level on points with their illustrious opponents.
The Catalan side needed a 90th-minute equaliser from Ronald Araújo to rescue a point at home against Granada and remain unbeaten in LL this term (W2, D2). Nevertheless, there’s mounting speculation that the board is shortlisting replacements for manager Ronald Koeman after matters came to a head following the 3-0 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.
That’s despite them being one point better off than at the same stage of each of the past two seasons and unbeaten in five LL away games (W3, D2). With the Dutchman’s future uncertain, he’s every right to feel nervous for this clash as he oversaw a 2-1 defeat here last term – Barcelona’s first H2H defeat anywhere since May 1991 ending a run of six straight victories!
Players to watch: Cádiz defender Alfonso Espino has netted twice already this term and his team has never lost after he scored (W2, D1) while Barcelona’s Memphis Depay has also scored twice this season – five of his last six competitive club goals have come away from home.
Hot stat: Koeman’s win-rate (63%) is the lowest of any permanent Barcelona boss since compariot Frank Rijkaard (58%) between 2003-2008.