More than a decade ago Barça did not lose their home against Espanyol in a league game. The last Juventus coach to reach this goal was Ernesto Valverde, who was away on January 13th 2007 at the Montjuïc stadium. The day when Frank Rijkaard broke one of the walls of the bench with a blow. Since then, in regular league matches, Barça has always scored in his visits to the white and blue skies, first in Montjuïc and then in Cornellà-El Prat: six wins and five draws. A dynamic that Ernesto Valverde wants to continue and hopes to cut Francsec Ferrer Rubi, who will attempt to imitate his Barça counterpart and defeat the local Barça today at twilight (8:45 pm, Movistar Partidazo).
"What if I have changed a lot from my time as Espanyol coach? Well I suppose in some things more and, in others, not so much.It is a very difficult question." In this way he sent a Valverde smiling a question yesterday which was not provided in the previous of the most beautiful derby in recent years. In fact, if we look at the Espanyol course from their last win as a local in a derby, only the 2007-08 season and the 2010-11 season came with more points and in a better position on the fifteenth One day that quest & # 39; year coincides with a derby.
The 2007-08 season Valverde signed a great start on the white and blue bench, in which he managed to defeat teams like Real Madrid, Valencia and Seville, triumphs that allowed him to climb to the fifth position after the first fourteen games. The 2010-11 season, in the second year of Mauricio Pochettino as coach of Espanyol, the periquito set was placed on the fifteenth day of the League as fourth classified, far, yes, to nine points of one Barça of Pep Guardiola in head with 37 points. A separation lower than that of the current league, where Barça is leading with twenty-eight points, seven more than Espanyol, who occupy the eighth position with twenty-one.
This year we are facing one of the most equal seasons of the last years: only eight points separate the first, Barca, from the ninth Getafe. No less surprising are the break-ins from teams like Alavés, Levante, Girona and Espanyol in the upper area. "It costs us a lot to add points away from home, not just for us, it's a general tonic, which is one of the reasons why the league is so balanced, which makes the three points of the derby even more important," said Valverde yesterday.
The heart, more decisive than the table
The lack of points between Barça and Espanyol compared to other seasonal derby, however, is not for the Basque coach, a factor that determines that today's situation is more equal than the others: "It's true that it's true a distance-equalized derby, but these games play a lot from the heart and a little bit from the head, it's a special match ". The last story gives him the reason, because in the last Espanyol victory in a League derby (1-2, in February 2009), the blanc-i-blaus were placed at the Camp Nou as In shorts , while Barça was a leader.
However, Valverde said that Espanyol "is at an excellent time" – despite losing the last three league games – and that "has become strong in their stadiums". This is the reason why the Basque defined the "fire test" the duel. Valverde also praised Rubi, who did not rule out the possibility of following the Barça model: "Rubi has always been characterized to play from behind, to put pressure on the front and work well on the strategy, but this depends on the players you have. good players like Marc Roca, Darder, Granero … that allow him to make a good football, Borja Iglesias was a great signing … "
The coach of Blaugrana, despite praising Rubi and stating that his Espanyol "is different", does not consider him more dangerous than last year, led by Quique Sánchez Flores and who was able to defeat Barça in Cornellà. El Prat (1-0) in a Cup match. This evening's duel will be another story and Valverde is not expected to make big changes at the eleventh gala evening. The Txingurri, who can not count on the injured artist Arthur, Umtiti, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha and Malcom, recovers Luis Suarez. Therefore, the main incognito in eleven years focuses on knowing who will form the offensive trident if the Uruguayan starts: relegating Dembélé on the bench when he is playing better or sitting in a Coutinho who can not make a good match since he is recovered from injury?
Meanwhile, in Espanyol, Rubi is in doubt on the central Mario Hermoso, but recovers the striker Sergio García, who, like him, has a part of his past linked to Barça. With the clear slogan of "not obsessing with Messi", Rubi calls for a full RCD Stadium and a "sporting spirit" – the same thing that Gerard Piqué hopes not to revive past controversy. The Catalan coach wants to emulate Valverde and win the derby as a local. On the bench of Barça, the Basque coach will not be left with nostalgia and will look for the victory so that Barça remains a leader.