Barcelona have an early kick-off this Saturday as they travel to a difficult ground of Ipurua.
Eibar, their weekend hosts, currently sit in 14th place in the table, having only won nine points in the total of eight games played.
The Catalans are heading into the clash as favourites and they will undoubtedly be aiming to dethrone Real Madrid from the top of La Liga or at least apply more pressure on them as we get back to club football after the international break.
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But the Blaugrana will be facing some difficulties with their squad selection and Ernesto Valverde might have to resort to some unexpected picks due to suspensions and possible fatigue.
With all of that in mind, here’s what we think Barcelona’s starting lineup will look like this weekend:
Marc-Andre ter Stegen has started every single game in the league so far and his spot is rarely under threat.
For that reason, it’s fairly safe to conclude he’s going to be the man between the sticks this Saturday as well.
His back four, however, will definitely see some changes. Nelson Semedo is expected to start on his natural right side of the pitch once again, having deputised for both Junior Firpo and Jordi Alba in the last couple of fixtures.
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But with Alba’s return to the squad, the Portuguese right-back should assume his ordinary role. With Gerard Pique’s suspension due to yellow card accumulation, Jean-Clair Todibo might get a nod in front of the experienced Spaniard.
Samuel Umtiti is also back in the squad but he’s still fairly fresh from his injury and with no minutes under his name, it would be a stretch to start him immediately. For that reason, the 19-year-old Todibo might feature once again after a good showing on his debut.
The middle of the park is where it gets interesting again.
Seeing Arthur Melo has done a lot of travelling during his international duties, Valverde might be inclined to give the Brazilian a rest and include the heavily-criticised Ivan Rakitic from the get-go.
The Croatian should then be deployed next to the fairly standard Frenkie de Jong, who picks himself at this point and Sergio Busquets, who only played one game for his national team – the former in a more advanced role on the left and the latter in his traditional defensive midfielder position.
Finally, the front three should bring us no surprises at all – Antoine Griezmann on the left, Luis Suarez upfront and Lionel Messi, who’s finally completely fit and ready, on the right.
With the suspension of Ousmane Dembele due to the red card he received in the last game against Sevilla, Valverde will most likely go for the aforementioned option with little chances of any changes.