Barça to play between seven and nine games in the first 31 days of 2016
Among the challenges lie tests in La Liga and the Copa del Rey, where a knockout of Espanyol would add two more games to the schedule
FC Barcelona face an arduous start to 2016 with three derbies against Espanyol in less than 15 days, starting on 2 January at Power8 Stadium and ending with a last-16 tie in the Copa del Rey — first at Camp Nou, then in Cornellà-El Prat — in the days following.
In between those two Copa games with Espanyol, Barça host Granada in league play — times are still unannounced — in what will be the final game of the season’s first half. On top of that, Barça’s week 16 game against Sporting Gijon is still pending as a result of a scheduling conflict with the Club World Cup. The Sporting game is expected to be played in mid-February.
Four La Liga games at 4.00pm
In addition to those games, Barça host Athletic Club in week 20 and play at Málaga in week 21. The Athletic game, set for 8.30pm, is Barça’s only league game not set for 4.00pm during the month of January.
FC Barcelona will then wrap up the month when they host Atlético de Madrid in week 22 on Saturday, 30 January.
Two more Copa del Rey games?
Should FC Barcelona knock their cross-town rivals Espanyol out of the last 16, Barça’s calendar of games would rise to nine, as two quarter-final games would be appended to the agenda in the last fortnight of the year’s first month. Barça’s hypothetical last eight opponents would be drawn on 15 January.