Predicted Barcelona Line-up To Face Real Madrid In The La Liga
Spanish La Liga leaders Barcelona will look to pull further away from their challengers when they take on bitter rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Tipped as one of the biggest clashes in club football, the El Clasico on Saturday, can have huge ramifications on the La Liga race, given that the Catalans are currently running away with the title. Ernesto Valverde’s men are 11 points ahead of their old foes, who sit 4th, and a win this weekend would increase the gap to 14 points, although the Galacticos do have a game in hand.
The Blaugrana come into the game on the back of a solid performance in a 4-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna and the manager will be hoping that his side get the job done at the Bernabeu this weekend.
Valverde will be without the services of attackers Gerard Deulofeu and Paco Alcacer for the titanic clash on Saturday, while Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembele also remain sidelined. Versatile midfielder Rafinha Alcantara is fit again, but is unlikely to be rushed into action, after being 8 months out on the sidelines.
Here’s how the league leaders could take the field against the reigning champions on Saturday:
Manager: Ernesto Valverde
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK)
The German international is the preferred choice between the sticks for the Catalans and that is unlikely to change on Saturday.
Sergi Roberto (RB)
The Spanish utility man has been preferred at right-back ahead of Nelson Semedo in the last three league games and Valverde is likely to stick with him at the Bernabeu.
Gerard Pique (CB)
A veteran of the Clasicos, Pique will need to muster up all his experience and put in a strong showing against the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Thomas Vermaelen (CB)
The former Arsenal captain has stepped up very nicely in the absence of Samuel Umtiti in recent weeks. Another start beckons for the Belgian.
Jordi Alba (LB)
On the left-hand side of the defence, Spanish international Jordi Alba will keep his spot in the starting setup. Will have a key role to play with his forward forays.
Ivan Rakitic (CM)
A constant presence in the Barcelona midfield, Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic will need to be at his best for the Catalans to come away with a win.
Sergio Busquets (CDM)
The experienced midfielder will anchor the midfield for the Catalans and look to thwart the influence of the likes of Isco and Luka Modric.
Andres Iniesta (CM)
The midfield maestro was in sublime form in the win over Deportivo last weekend. Will be keen on carrying on from where he left off against Madrid.
The Brazilian midfielder has been in fine form for the Catalans and has already netted 6 goals in 15 Liga games – more than what Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have managed for Madrid. A definite starter.
Luis Suarez (ST)
The Uruguayan has found the back of the net on 4 occasions in his last 3 league appearances. Will be a cause of worry for the Madrid defence.
Lionel Messi (ST)
The little magician, as is the case most of the times, will carry the major threat in the attack. Will be itching to get a goal or two against Madrid, following his Ballon d’Or loss to Ronaldo.