Girona have made one of the best-ever starts to a campaign in La Liga, lining this trip to Barcelona up as a battle between second and third in the table.
Girona head to Barca having won 12 of their opening 15 matches this season, while no side has a better away record than the visitors.
They’ll hope that fine form continues in this trip, but can Barca rally and close the gap to second?
These may be two of the highest-scoring sides in La Liga, but they aren’t all that quick at racing out of the traps. Barcelona have already seen three of their home league games finish goalless at the break, with only one of their eight matches featuring more than one goal.
Girona are a fantastic side at forcing their way back into games, but they aren’t likely to take the game to Barcelona early on in this encounter.
Barca have only twice conceded the opening goal at home this term, with those two games finishing 1-0 at the break. With 75% of Barca’s home league goals and 62% of Girona’s away strikes coming after half-time, back a low-scoring opening 45 minutes.
With these two sides saving so many of their goals until the second half, this one should open up after half-time. An encounter like this does offer some temptation in the goals markets, so both teams to score in the second half is a standout bet.
Barcelona have been incredible late on in games, scoring more goals in the final 15 minutes of matches than any other side in La Liga. On the other hand, no side in La Liga has wrestled back more points from losing positions than Girona.
The pair are each threatening going forward, but this is an encounter which is likely to take some time to open up. Backing both teams to score in-play is one option, but with the pair scoring a combined 39 goals in the second half this season, this is a good market to get in on ahead of kick-off.
While Girona are masters at fighting back, this test may be a bridge too far for them. They’ve certainly overachieved to sit second in La Liga and their match-ups with sides around them suggest there is still a gap in quality.
Girona are yet to beat a side in the top seven this season, drawing with both Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad alongside a loss to Real Madrid.
Like Girona, Barcelona were also beaten at home by Real this term. However, they’ve won every home league game outside of that, while they’ve won 10 of their 11 home games this season in all competitions.
However, Barca’s last seven home wins have all come by a single goal. That run includes three 2-1 wins across their last five at home, so back a repeat of that scoreline against a Girona side who look a little out of their depth.
Barcelona head into this clash without goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, with Inaki Pena replacing him in goal. Gavi and Marcos Alonso are both absent for the Catalans, who are set to start Raphinha and Joao Felix on either side of Robert Lewandowski.
Girona have a few missing players here, with Toni Villa, Juan Carlos and Yangel Herrera all ruled out.
The visitors have a decision to make up front, with Artem Dovbyk and Cristhian Stuani competing for the lone attacking role in a 4-5-1 setup.
Barcelona have scored 17 times across their last four meetings with Girona.
Girona boss Michel makes this trip having lost four of his five clashes with Barcelona as a manager, picking up just one point across those contests.
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.