HomeFootballAlmería vs Barcelona, La Liga: Preview

Almería vs Barcelona, La Liga: Preview


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UD Almería (20th, 17pts) vs FC Barcelona (2nd, 76pts)

Competition/Round: 2023-24 La Liga, Matchday 36

Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ilkay Gündogan, Ronald Araujo, Gavi, Frenkie de Jong, Alejandro Balde (out)

Almería Outs & Doubts: Largie Ramazani (out), Iddrisu Baba, Aleksandar Radovanovic (doubt)

Date/Time: Thursday, May 16, 2024, 9.30pm CET (Barcelona), 8.30pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3.30pm ET, 12.30pm PT (USA), 1am IST (India, Friday)

Venue: Power Horse Stadium, Almería, Andalusia, Spain

Referee: Javier Alberola Rojas

VAR: Santiago Jaime Latre

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

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

Following a hard-fought victory at home against Real Sociedad on Monday, Barcelona have no time to rest and are right back in action for a rare Thursday night clash as they travel to bottom of the table and already relegated Almería at the Power Horse Stadium.

Barça come into this one having done their homework and then receiving huge help from Villarreal, who went to Girona on Tuesday and beat the Catalan side to keep Barça in second place heading into the final three matches of the season.

The Blaugrana now own a one-point advantage and Girona have only two more matches to play, which means Barça will clinch second place with a game to spare if they win on Thursday and then again on Sunday against Rayo Vallecano at home, which is a scenario very few would have thought possible after Girona beat Barça in dominant fashion 10 days ago.

But that’s how quickly things change in football, and Barça now have the chance to guarantee a reported €10 million in additional prize money for finishing second and playing in next year’s Spanish Super Cup as well as avoiding having something to play for in the final day away to Sevilla, which is always a very tricky fixture.

Winning on Thursday is paramount to ensure the home finale at the weekend will be a festive occasion, and on paper Barça should have very few issues getting a win against the worst team in the league: Almería have already been relegated for a few weeks and are very much enjoying their farewell tour, playing high-scoring games that usually end in defeat for them but always have plenty of entertainment.

They almost caused one of Barça’s worst defeats of the season in their trip to Montjuïc in the final game of 2023, taking a 2-1 lead in the second half and only losing thanks to a heroic two-goal substitute cameo by captain Sergi Roberto, who scored twice in the dying moments to turn embarrassment into a hard-fought victory.

Almería have absolutely nothing to lose these days, and all they want to do is give their fans something to cheer about before their journey in the top flight ends. And there’s nothing more satisfying for small Spanish clubs than beating the mighty Barcelona, and that’s what Almería will try to do on Thursday.

The hosts have played an attacking style all season and won’t change now: it would be a huge surprise to see Almería parking the bus with a back five and trying to win on the counter or using set pieces, and they will likely press Barça very high and try to force mistakes to create chances and fire plenty of shots on goal and crosses into the box.

There’s some talented players with good La Liga experience in forward areas, so Almería can’t be taken for granted. If they do play an open game as expected it should suit Barça, who under Xavi Hernández have always thrived when playing against teams that give them space to move the ball quickly from back to front.

Very rarely does a La Liga team play on the front foot against the big boys, but Almería will be one of those and should give us a fun spectacle. Barça will have to defend well, especially early on, but they have the quality to eventually take control of the game and find enough goals to win comfortably and take a big step towards finishing second.

Let’s dance.


Almería (4-2-3-1): Maximiano; Pubill, González, Montes, Centelles; Peña, Robertone; Baptistao, Viera, Embarba; Lozano

Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Cubarsí, Iñigo, Cancelo; Fermín, Roberto, Pedri; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Ferran


Almería play a bold, attacking style and have nothing to lose, so they will go for it and try to get a famous result on their way out of La Liga. That should make for an open game, one that will benefit Barça even if there are moments of tension: 3-1 to the good guys.

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