Title here ‘The players have returned from their international sojourn and the player who grabs most of the eyeballs, Lionel Messi, for one, is not happy. The couple of their international fixtures during the break and the disappointment from Messi is palpable. Question now is whether the little magician will keep that at bay for now and turn his attention to doing the best once again with Barcelona.
Barcelona have begun their quest for the 2017-18 La Liga title in their customary effective style. Ernesto Valverde’s side have won both matches so far by two goals to nil. Real Betis and Alaves have already been dispatched, and it’s hugely likely Espanyol will join them. Although this is a derby, the visitors have a horrendous record in this fixture. They have won none and drawn just two of the previous 14 meetings. It would be surprising if they were to prevail in this one.
Quique Sanchez Flores’ team have taken a single point from their opening two matches of the season. They will at least take heart from the fact their point came in a tough away match. Espanyol drew 1-1 at Sevilla, before losing 1-0 at home to Leganes. Leo Baptistao has scored their only goal so far, and will hope to write his name into Espanyol folklore on Saturday.