Girona vs Barça: Prevew
Source: Barcablaugranes

Girona FC (3rd, 71pts) vs FC Barcelona (2nd, 73pts) Competition/Round: 2023-24 La Liga, Matchday 34

Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Gavi, Frenkie de Jong, Alejandro Balde (out)

Girona Outs & Doubts: Joel Roca, Juanpe (out), Viktor Tsygankov, Ricard Artero, Cristhian Stuani (doubt)

Date/Time: Saturday, May 4, 2024, 6.30pm CET (Barcelona), 5.30pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 12.30pm ET, 9.30am PT (USA), 10pm IST (India)

Venue: Estadio Municipal de Montilivi, Girona, Catalonia, Spain

Referee: Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez

VAR: Juan Martinez Munuera

How to watch on TV: ESPN Deportes (USA), ITV 4, Premier Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), Sports18 (India), others

How to watch online: ESPN+ (USA), ITVX, LaLigaTV (UK), DAZN (Spain), others

Following a hard-fought win over 10-man Valencia at home on Monday, Barcelona return to action for what is their last big game of the 2023-24 season as the Blaugrana make the short trip to Montilivi to face Girona on Saturday evening in a monster Catalan derby.

Barca come into this one two points ahead of their local rivals, and a win would essentially guarantee a second place finish for last season's champions and book a place in next year's Spanish Super Cup. In the current state of Barca's finances every euro matters, and the difference in prize money between second and third is too big to be ignored.

A draw would still leave Barca in a solid position but still in danger of finishing third, and a defeat would be yet another serious blow in a period of brutal, season-ending losses. So the job for Xavi Hernandez and his troops on Saturday is pretty simple: win on Saturday and ensure there will be very little pressure on the final four games of the season, which would give youngsters and reserves a chance to play more minutes as the club begins to plan for a busy summer.

But simple doesn't mean easy: beating this Girona side has been a very tough proposition for every other La Liga team this season, and they dominated Barca at Montjuic last December to prove that they can win anywhere playing their bold, attacking style no matter the quality of the opponent.

A title challenge didn't materialize thanks to a tough stretch a couple of months ago, but Girona's season is still spectacular regardless of where they finish. Manager Michel Sanchez is now a coveted coaching prospect, several players have raised their stock tremendously, and Pichici race leader Artem Dovbyk will surely be the subject of much interest in the summer window.

The Red and Whites want one more famous result to end their wonderful campaign, and completing a season sweep of their famous neighbors would certainly be the stuff of dreams for a small club still getting used to consistent success. They will play on Saturday as they have all season: with the ball, passing it from the back without fear, and using their speed and skill on the wings to provide quality service to their big, talented striker.

Xavi indicated in his pre-match press conference that Barca are looking for revenge for that December home defeat, and the Blaugrana want to show Girona that they've improved a lot since their first meeting. Except for the two awful losses against Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid Barca have actually been in good form, and they'll hope to use that momentum to get a big win that they desperately need for so many reasons.

La Liga isn't always that fun to watch, but this is a must-see game that is guaranteed to be all kinds of entertaining.

Let's dance.

POSSIBLE LINEUPS Barcelona (4-2-3-1): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Cubarsi, Cancelo; Christensen, Gundogan; Yamal, Fermin, Raphinha; Lewandowski

Girona (4-3-3): Gazzaniga; Eric, Lopez, Blind, Miguel; Martin, Herrera, Aleix; Couto, Dovbyk, Savio

PREDICTION Girona only know how to play one way, especially at home, and their style suits a Barca side hungry for revenge. This will be full of chances and goals, and I'm betting on the good guys to find a way to win a thriller: 3-2 Barca.