The Spanish La Liga continues this weekend with match-day 16. of the 2023/2024 season, but all eyes will be on a Catalan derby, which no one would assume would be a clash of title contenders as Barcelona hosts second-place Girona on Sunday.
Girona are second on the table and level on points with Real Madrid in the best start to a La Liga season in the club’s history. Already, Girona is four points ahead of Barcelona, who is in third place and can extend that to seven points if they can rack up another big victory at the Stadio Olimpico stadium on Sunday.
They could even go on top of the table should Real Madrid fail to get a victory away to Real Betis on Saturday. After fifteen match days, Girona has only dropped points thrice this season and lost just once.
Their 3-0 loss to Real Madrid in September could have been a reality check, but aside from a 1-1 draw on opening day to Real Sociedad and another similar scoreline against Athletic Club in November, Girona have managed to win every other match in all competitions.
The team’s last game was a 2-1 victory over Valencia, where they needed to come from a goal down to secure the victory. They will face a similarly impressive Barcelona side whose only loss this season was to Real Madrid as well.
Two Barcelona players are on loan at Girona, with Eric Garcia and Pablo Torre spending the whole of the season at Girona. However, the latter will sit out of the fixture while the former is eligible to play against his parent team.
Girona has never beaten Barcelona in a competitive match, but they are currently in good form, enough for them to get their first win against the Blaugrana, and there is no greater motivation than the opportunity to create a seven-point gap and potentially stay points ahead of Real Madrid.
Daniel Ademiju Idowu