After an upsetting loss in the Supercup final, Barcelona take on UE Cornella in the Copa del Rey. Barça Universal brings you the match preview for the upcoming David vs Goliath battle.
Date and Kickoff Time: Thursday, 21st January 2021, 9 PM CET
Stadium: Camp Municipal de Cornella
Competition: Copa del Rey, Round of 32
After a thoroughly disappointing loss against Athletic Club in the Supercup final, Barcelona will now travel to Camp Municipal de Cornella to take on fellow Catalan side UE Cornella. The two sides will go into this game with completely different levels of morale. Barcelona, having let a trophy slip and Cornella having won the biggest game in the club’s history.
The Segunda B side are playing at the highest level in their 70-year history. They will go into this clash brimming with confidence. After a 1-0 win vs Atletico Madrid, pulling the biggest upset of the cup so far, they will hope to go one better by beating their neighbours Barcelona.
The Blaugrana however, with the pressure mounting on their shoulders, must not be rattled. The Supercopa loss is a bitter pill to swallow, but they must reset and go again. Ronald Koeman will look to avoid another disappointment at all costs.
Cornella have been in decent form of late, with just the one loss in their last 5 fixtures. Coincidentally, losing to Barcelona B back in December. Alex Collado scored the winning goal, and considering the fatigue most of Barça’s regular first teamers will be carrying, the youngster could feature at some point. Cornella however have drawn both of their previous games, but they will go all out against Barcelona, proving that their win against Atletico Madrid was no fluke.
Barcelona after their 4 game winning streak though, must bounce back in this fixture. With Lionel Messi out following his suspension against Athletic Club, Barcelona will most likely have to rotate their team in order to keep the players fresh for the league game against Elche over the weekend as well.
This will be the first time Cornella and Barcelona will face off in an official fixture. The Segunda B side will be undeterred though. As they are looking to create history once again. They will throw everything they have against the 30 time Copa del Rey champions.
What to expect from Barcelona?
Barcelona will most likely roll out with a heavily rotated side. After two back to back games going to extra time, the Azulgranas will be cautious with the first teamers. They will have to be prepared to work hard as Cornella will be compact and hard to break down.
Ronald Koeman could return to his double pivot 4-2-3-1 setup, perhaps giving Riqui Puig his first start of the season. The Dutchman will however have his hands tied due to the unavailability of Sergino Dest. Barcelona will have to be smart with their use of the wide areas, since Cornella are likely to sit deep.
What to expect from Cornella?
Guillermo Fernandez’s Cornella side will most likely roll out with the same side that secured their historic win over Atleti. Defender Adrian Jimenez might be the only injury related absentee. He was the goalscorer against the Rojiblancos. However, if he were to miss this clash, Cornella could deploy their usual 4 man defense with the versatile Borja Garcia occasionally dropping between the central defenders.
Cornella will keep their lines tight and look to capitalise from any set pieces and on the break. Fernandez’s men will have to be extremely disciplined.
Player to watch: Eloy Gila
Cornella’s top scorer this season, the 32-year-old winger will be instrumental in leading their charge against Barcelona. Since the left-back will have to push up to deal with Cornella’s deep block, Gila will have space to exploit which he will burst into at every opportunity. The Spaniard’s great crossing ability from the wide areas will also be something to watch out for.
Previous games: LWWWD
Barcelona 2-3 Athletic Club | Supercopa de España
Granada 0-4 Barcelona | La Liga
Athletic Club 2-3 Barcelona | La Liga
Huesca 0–1 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 1-1 Eibar | La Liga
Previous games: DDWLW
UE Olot 2-2 UE Cornella | Segunda B
Gimnastic 2-2 UE Cornella | Segunda B
UE Cornella 1-0 Atletico Madrid | Copa del Rey
UE Cornella 0-1 Barcelona B | Segunda B
CD Marino 0-1 UE Cornella | Copa del Rey
Head to head record
Previous meetings: N/A
– Barcelona’s first team and Cornella have never faced off before.
– Cornella play on one of Spain’s smallest professional grounds, with a capacity of just 1500.
– Cornella have kept a clean sheet in three of their last CDR fixtures.
Injured: Gerard Pique (knee), Ansu Fati (knee), Sergi Roberto (hamstring), Phillipe Coutinho (knee), Sergino Dest (thigh)
Suspended: Lionel Messi
Mingueza · Araujo · Umtiti · Firpo
Pjanic · Pedri
Trincao · Puig · Konrad
Coach: Ronald Koeman
Injured: Adrian Jimenez (doubtful) Suspended: N/A
Guzman · Garcia · Moreno · Prieto
Garcia · Medina
Gila · Dorca · Marcet
Coach: Guillermo Fernandez
In spite of the heavy rotation, on paper Barcelona still have plenty of quality to beat their Catalan counterparts. Cornella though, will try to show the magic of one-off games again. However, Barcelona are still the heavy favourites heading into the tie.
Barça Universal Prediction: 3-0 win for Barcelona.
Predicted Barcelona lineup against Sevilla — Araujo and Griezmann return
Heading into the back to back clashes against Sevilla can surely not be easy for Ronald Koeman. The 2-0 defeat at the Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan is undoubtedly fresh in the minds of players, one that cannot be forgotten easily.
Action returns on Saturday in La Liga, once again in the stadium that the Catalans recently lost blood in. Points on the League at this stage are vital, and Barcelona cannot afford to let their guard down. Here is how Barcelona could lineup against Sevilla
In goal once again, Marc Andre ter Stegen will continue to star for the Blaugranas. The German has been absolutely vital and stellar once again for his side. Needless to say, his performance on Saturday will account for so much of the result.
Gerard Pique has started three in three games since his return from injury and looked fit as ever. The Spaniard has indeed endured a mixed start, yet not one with mistakes highlighted.
Alongside him will likely be Ronald Araujo. The Uruguayan finally returns from injury, and the boost couldn’t come at a better time for Barcelona. Araujo will be crucial for the upcoming decisive clashes in the Catalans schedule.
Sergino Dest will return to his duties at right-back, given the weight of the coming clash. Up against the fourth-placed side in the league, Barcelona will have to be equally effective in creating chances from both sides. Something for which the American international’s top form is a necessity.
Jordi Alba will continue to be deputed at left-back after his performance against Elche added yet another goal to his season. The left-back has been renewed indeed and will be vital against Sevilla.
With Miralem Pjanic out through injury, Sergio Busquets will almost certainly start for Koeman’s side on Saturday. The midfielders guile and creativity will be the need of the hour at the Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan.
Busquets will likely be accompanied once again by Frenkie de Jong and Pedri. Over the past few months, the duo has cemented their place in Koeman’s Gala XI and rightfully earned their spot.
While de Jong’s advanced role is very conspicuous, Pedri has been working harder than ever in the shadows. The youngster has been heavily involved in retrievals, a facet which Barcelona heavily lacked in recent years.
Fransisco Trincao could not register himself on the scoresheet at the Camp Nou midweek but still had a fantastic performance. It was only a brilliant save from Edgar Badia that denied the Portuguese another feather in his cap. He will start on the right-wing.
Lionel Messi will once again look to lead from the tip of the spear as he continues his sensational goal streak. The La Liga top scorer just cannot be stopped at the moment, and once again, all eyes will be on the Argentine to make the difference on Saturday.
Antoine Griezmann was rested against Elche and could make his highly-anticipated comeback in the coming game. Though the dawn of the new century has borne well for the Frenchman, the last few games have seen him slightly get on the wrong foot. He will undoubtedly be looking to get back on scoring terms against Sevilla.
Griezmann · Messi · Trincao
Pedri · Busquets · de Jong
Alba · Pique · Araujo · Dest
Riqui Puig on the bench could be a candidate for Koeman to turn to. The La Masia graduate has time and again upped the tempo of the Blaugranas game, providing last-minute firepower that is often invaluable.
Martin Braithwaite pulled off an amazing show against Elche, with two sumptuous assists to be proud of. The Dane could once again be called up against Sevilla to make a difference in the latter half of the game.