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Three talking points ahead of Girona vs Barcelona | La Liga

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The Catalan derby has never been more exciting from the point of view of a neutral viewer.

Barcelona vs Girona, as a local derby, brings out the raw rivalry that fills football with flavour. While the game could have occurred with larger stakes, it will not be without thrilling action at Estadi Montilivi tomorrow.

At one point in the season, Michel’s men appeared set to take the league title home. They eventually ran out of steam towards the second half of the season, but it is clear that they will come out all guns blazing against Xavi’s men tomorrow night.

For the men in garnet-and-blue, meanwhile, it is a tale of revenge as they look to land Girona a blow for the 4-2 humiliation they suffered at home earlier this season.

Barça Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Girona vs Barcelona.

The battle for second

Barcelona’s late defeat in the recent Clasico virtually left Real Madrid with a red carpet to the La Liga title.

Indeed, the Blaugrana would require a number of results to go their way to pull off a comeback had they won the fixture. The defeat, however, brought even the ever-so-small hope to zero.

Xavi’s side must now settle for second place, but the battle for the number 2 spot is fierce as well. After all, their local rivals Girona are just two points behind them on the league standings and well-placed to leapfrog Barcelona with a win on Saturday.

Oriol Romeu will be in focus against Girona (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

The manager made it clear in his pre-match press conference that it was his team’s priority to finish the season at least second on the standings, and a win tomorrow is essential on that front.

Moreover, one cannot help but think that the Blaugranas will be hungry for vengeance on Saturday considering the margin with which Girona beat them at Montjuic earlier this season. A win at Montilivi would go a long way in settling the derby’s score.

Day out for the sporting department

With Barcelona not having much more to fight for than the second-place and the club’s esteem, the management and administration understandably have begun planning for the season ahead.

Tomorrow’s clash poses a fascinating opportunity on that front, for there are Barcelona players on both sides, albeit with contrasting situations.

The first player, who is currently in the Blaugrana dressing room, is Oriol Romeu who Barcelona signed from Girona just last summer. The midfielder was seen as one to take over responsibilities as the team’s pivot, but the experiment did not yield fruition.

The Spaniard’s role has thus been reduced to a mere presence on the bench, and as Xavi pointed out in his pre-game interaction, he has better options at his disposal.

Eric Garcia, on the other hand, made the move from Barcelona to Michel’s side on loan last summer and has done exceptionally well for the in-form side.

Eric Garcia will marshall the Girona defence (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

The 23-year-old has played 27 games for Girona, including 25 starts, and has overseen six clean sheets with three goals to his name as well.

Tomorrow will thus be a busy night for Barcelona’s sporting division, who will not only look to evaluate Romeu’s potential departure this summer but also the futures of Eric Garcia and Pablo Torre first-hand.

Aleix Garcia is another player who deeply interests Xavi and who will be under the radar tomorrow.

Bold decisions required

It is now that time of the year when Xavi must look to push beyond his comfort zone, especially considering that there can be no further negative repercussions.

Looking ahead to next season, the manager must have a clear plan of the players he wishes to continue trusting, and providing fringe players with minutes becomes an essential part of the same experiment.

One such player who deserves a run in the first team is Vitor Roque. The Brazilian striker has barely featured since arriving in January, and the management would rather give him a run before opting to send him on loan.

On the same note, Xavi must also look to provide the likes of Inigo Martinez, Hector Fort, Marc Guiu and Ferran Torres with more prominence to narrow down his options ahead of a critical summer transfer window.

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