Match Today: Barcelona vs Almeria 05-11-2022 La Liga
Barcelona host newly promoted Almeria to the Camp Nou, as they look to keep the pressure on Real Madrid at the top.
The Catalan giants revealed their Champions League frustration over Victoria Plzen midweek, while the visitors scored their fourth win this season last weekend, with a 3-1 victory over Celta Vigo.
It's been another busy week at Barcelona as Gerard Pique, one of the club's greatest defenders ever, announced his retirement on Thursday night, noting that next weekend's La Liga game was his last ever appearance at the Camp Nou.
Having joined the club in 2008, the centre-back will leave the club with 616 appearances in all competitions, making him the fifth best-appearing maker in the club's history.
One of only four matches to have made more matches in the Blaugrana is Xavi, Pique's current coach, who made the most of a Champions League final to rotate with his side on Wednesday, giving minutes to four youngsters in the 4-2 win over Viktoria Plzen.
Barcelona vs Almeria
While last year's second-tier champions returned to the First Division for the first time in seven years, after a slow start they moved away from the relegation zone with three home wins, although the Andalusian away performance remained disappointing.
Domestically, Barcelona are reeling in the wake of arch-rivals Real Madrid after falling to Girona last weekend, with the gap now down to one point at the top of La Liga.
Robert Lewandowski scored the winning goal in the 93rd minute at Mestalla last time, as Xavi's men scored three consecutive victories in La Liga, scoring 29 goals and conceding only 4 in 12 matches so far.
Capable of resting key players in the middle of the week, a home game against the newly promoted contender should provide the perfect opportunity to preserve the title.
Barcelona's home level in La Liga has been inevitable since their draw at Spotify Camp Nou with Rayo Vallecano on the opening weekend of the new season and after such an unexpected setback, they embarked on a five-game winning streak without conceding a goal.
Five wins until nothing could turn into six on Saturday when Barcelona host Almeria side that have been beaten in each of their last five matches on the road.
Almeria failed to score in three of those defeats, so expect a similar pattern to emerge in Catalonia this weekend.
Almeria VS Barcelona
Meanwhile, Almeria isn't going too badly in LaLiga, as last weekend's 3-1 win over Celta Vigo lifted Ruby's men to 13th in the standings.
With the help of an early red card for Gabri Vega, Los Indalicos racked up three consecutive home league victories, having scored three goals in each of those hugely encouraging victories.
Concern prevailed in the club after the departure of its star striker Omar Sadiq last August, as the Andalusian team played four matches without scoring a goal directly after losing the Nigerian striker.
However, substitute sniper Bilal Toure quickly found his feet, scoring in three consecutive matches before taking possession of Adrian Embarba and Gonzalo Mellero.
Los Rojiblancos have yet to win on the road, just one point out of their six trips so far this season, and they will face it while traveling to Camp Nou, where Barcelona have scored 15 goals and have not conceded zero this season.
Eric Garcia and Andrea Christensen return for this match, but this is not the end of Barcelona's problem in defence, with Ronald Araujo, Jules Conde and Sergi Roberto absent.
The Memphis striker remains unavailable, and Frank Casey injured his hamstring against Plzen in midweek, and is likely to be on the sidelines until December.
Speaking about the match, the Barcelona coach said, "We know Robbie is a great coach, and he knows us very well. He might have a 4 or 5 men's defence.
But of course, most of his pre-match press conference was all about one man: Gerard Pique.
But he did not provide evidence of the role the central defender would play in his plans: Almeria is the team that Barcelona have faced most of the time in La Liga (12) without losing a single time.
Barcelona has never failed to score in a match against Red and White. Almeria has not won a match away from home since its victory over Cordoba in the second division last February.