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Espanyol v Barcelona: Leaders out to continue dominance of Catalan derby

SoccerNews in La Liga 23 Apr 2015

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With hopes of a domestic and European treble still burning brightly, Barcelona’s next test comes at city rivals Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday.

Luis Enrique’s side have enjoyed a productive week, with Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain sealing a 5-1 aggregate success and a place in the last four of the UEFA Champions League for the seventh time in eight seasons.

With a Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao still to look forward to and a two-point lead over Real Madrid at the summit, Barca are on course to repeat their treble-winning feat of 2008-09.

They can take confidence from a strong record in this derby, with six successive wins over Espanyol and no defeats since a 2-1 reverse in February 2009.

The reverse fixture at Camp Nou in December saw Barca run out 5-1 victors, with Lionel Messi netting a hat-trick.

With Real not taking on Celta Vigo until Sunday, Luis Enrique’s men have the chance to extend their lead to five points, temporarily at least.

Sitting 10th in the table, Espanyol have seemingly little to play for other than local pride, although Sergio’s men have gone six matches unbeaten, including an impressive 3-0 win at Villarreal earlier this month.

Felipe Caicedo scored twice in that victory and the Ecuador international believes his side’s strong form can help them cause an upset.

“We hope to play well at home lately: go for the goal and for the result,” he said.

“We trust that we can make a great match, we feel good, we are on a good run and we want to take advantage of our condition. We hope the fans will give us support from the first minute.

“It’s a great opportunity to prove that we are strong at home and we feel comfortable.

“They have great players; the great strength of Barcelona is in their attack, because they have great offensive players, we know of their potential.

“We will see how we can counteract the potential Barcelona have. We have clear ideas and we have to keep playing our football.”

Caicedo also netted in the 2-2 draw with Levante last time out, taking his tally in all competitions this season to 12 and the former Manchester City man is hoping to add to that number on Saturday.

“I’m having a bit more prominence, but a player always wants more,” he said. “I hope to continue in this line. I want more.”

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