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La Liga Preview: Almeria v Barcelona

Barcelona travel to Almeria on Saturday looking to record their 12th consecutive La Liga win.

The reigning champions have taken 18 points from their six fixtures so far in the top flight, scoring 22 goals and conceding just five in the process.

This follows on from five straight wins at the end of last season, and means the Catalan side have now dropped just four points in their last 16 La Liga games.

On Tuesday, they swept Real Sociedad aside at Camp Nou, with Neymar, Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Marc Bartra all scoring in a comprehensive 4-1 win.

Messi has begun the season in typical fashion, netting 10 goals in all competitions, but Brazil star Neymar has also enjoyed an impressive start to life in Barcelona after his move from Santos.

However, Dani Alves is not shocked by his compatriot’s adaption to Spanish football.

“I knew of Neymar’s abilities and I knew that he’d fit in at Barca. I’m not surprised by his good start,” he told Barcelona’s official website.

Almeria’s start to the season is in stark contrast to Barca’s, as they have failed to pick up a win, earning just three points from their six games.

And they look unlikely to improve on that record this weekend, having taken just two points from their last 10 matches against Martino’s team.

Their last four meetings have seen Barca rack up an aggregate scoreline of 19-1, including an 8-0 away victory in 2010.

Although his side will be huge underdogs again, Almeria boss Francisco Javier Rodriguez Vilchez has a full squad to choose from with the only player to miss their last game against Malaga – Christian Fernandez – coming back into contention following suspension.

Martino, meanwhile, has a number of fitness problems to contend with.

Jordi Alba (thigh), Javier Mascherano (hamstring), Isaac Cuenca (knee) and Ibrahim Afellay (knee) will all miss out, but Carles Puyol could feature.

Thu 26 Sep, 2013
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