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Saturday, 24th April 2010
Kick Off : 17:00 BST
Venue : Estadio Camp Nou, Barcelona
The intriguing Spanish La Liga fixture between Catalan giants Barcelona and Xerez will be played at the Estadio Camp Nou, on Saturday 24th 2010, kick-off set for 5:00 PM. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola admits that the next games will make or break Barcelona’s season. The Catalans, who currently lead the Primera Division of Spain by a single point over Real Madrid with five games remaining, host bottom club Xerez and face a tough trip to Villarreal next weekend. At the same time, Barca will look to turn over a 3-1 deficit against Inter Milan in the Champions League.
Pep Guardiola admits that the Inter match is something of a distraction for his players. It sure will be difficult not to be distracted playing against Xerez, but Barcelona will have to try not to be and make sure that they do not overlook their rivals. It is a test of mental strength and the best way to prepare for the Inter match is probably by beating Xerez.
Barcelona Captain Carles Puyol, is likely to move from central defence to the right while Maxwell is set to start on the left replacing injured Eric Abidal.
Xerez reports that Francis and Vicente Moreno return to the lineup and both could start at the Camp Nou on Saturday.
Xerez is a side which has improved lately, but remains bottom of the league in Spain and the Andalusians’ chances of Primera Division survival look rather slim with only five matches remaining. Guardiola is wary of them, though, saying that they have gone three away games without losing, that they play with intensity in defence and they still believe they can survive, so they will try to beat Barcelona and shock the world of football.
Furthermore, Xerez are now just six points adrift of Malaga on 17th place in the table and survival is still possible for the Andalusian outfit. This is the club’s first ever season in the Spanish top flight and they are unlikely to have ever faced a tougher match than a trip to play against what is arguably the greatest Barcelona side in history. But Argentine coach Nestor Gorosito says his side will set out to win all three points in the fixture. He explained that his mane will go there with the maximum of respect for Barcelona, but with the intention of winning the match and remain in Primera Division.
My prediction: 3-1