RATINGS: Barcelona unbeaten streak ended by intense Espanyol in Copa del Rey

Barcelona lost their first game since August in Cornella against Espanyol in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals (1-0). As expected, the Catalan derby was a tough battle which was only decided by a fast-paced play from the hosts in the dying minutes of the second half.

Valverde fielded a starting lineup including Aleña, Denis Suarez, Aleix Vidal, Digne an others non-regulars which, in my eyes, made perfect sense given the lesser importance of La Copa when compared to La Liga and Champions League. Having said that, the team should have been strong enough to get at least a draw against their domestic rivals.

While coming away empty-handed from Espanyol's ground in clearly disappointing, there is no need to panic: There is still plenty of time to turn things around in the return leg at the Camp Nou. It won't be an easy challenge to overcome but, with Messi, Suarez and most probably Iniesta and Coutinho also available for selection, there is reason to be optimistic about progressing to the next round.

Match Stats:

Player Ratings:

Cillessen - 6
Sergi Roberto - 7
Pique - 7
Vermalen - 7
Digne - 5
Busquets - 7
Paulinho - 5
Aleña - 6
Denis Suarez - 5
Messi - 7
Aleix Vidal - 5

Rakitic - 5
Luis Suarez - 6
Rafinha - 5

Listen to Francesc and Dan debating which current players should be either sold, loaned out or kept to help Valverde’s team this season. We are then joined by Ex-Masia youngster Sergio Navarro. The show ends with La Ronda of Quick-Fire Listener Questions. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts iOS App, the Android Google Play App or Spotify to make sure you never miss another episode!

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