Following the drubbing of Girona last weekend, FC Barcelona will be hoping to finally get back on track as they travel to Estadio Gran Canaria to face Las Palmas in a Thursday night encounter.
Even though the Spanish giants are leading La Liga by an impressive 7-point gap over second-placed Atletico, Barcelona have shown signs of deterioration in recent games. Ernesto Valverde’s men have won just three of their last six matches all competitions but that being said, Barcelona will be confident of their chances of overcoming Las Palmas this weekend, especially after that 6-1 win over Girona on Saturday.
Las Palmas, on the other hand, are having an awful season under Paco Jemez. The Canaries are sitting in 18th position in the league table. Should they fail to develop any real turnaround soon, Las Palmas would surely get relegated come May.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde will be missing out on the services of talented right-back Nelson Semedo as well as Jordi Alba. The Spanish fullback will miss the game due to a suspension while midfielder Sergi Samper is unavailable due to injury.
FC Barcelona might not use their preferred 4-3-3 formation this week and might instead execute the 4-4-2 shape they used against Girona. Ivan Rakitic partnered Sergio Busquets in central midfield while Ousmane Dembele and Philipe Coutinho were deployed in the wider positions behind the two main strikers, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Ernesto Valverde will likely use the same system but with a few changes in the starting lineup.
Ter Stegen has continued his impressive success in La Liga this season. The German keeper has conceded just 12 goals in 25 league games this season.
La Masia youth graduate Sergi Roberto has proven to be a vital cog in the defence for FC Barcelona this season. The 25-year-old should start at right-back.
Gerard Pique, who was subbed in the second half in the game against Girona, could be given a rest and should be replaced by new signing Yerri Mina. The Colombian has featured in just one game since moving to Spain earlier this year.
Barcelona’s newest recruit Yerri Mina will be partnered by Samuel Umtiti in central defence. The Frenchman has been an ever-present figure in the Barcelona backline this season and it would be a huge surprise to not see him play for France in the upcoming FIFA World Cup.
With Jordi Alba out through suspension, Lucas Digne is expected to replace the Spaniard in the left-back position. The former PSG fullback has found it difficult to find regular game time at Barcelona but a great display against Las Palmas could definitely help the Frenchman.
Sergio Busquets will be tasked with the responsibility of keeping things in tip-top shape in the middle of the park, something he’s so good at.
Ivan Rakitic will likely be given a breather this midweek, with Paulinho being expected to start alongside Sergio Busquets. The Brazilian could be deployed in a slightly advanced midfield position, where he can use his attacking prowess to make a huge difference.
Following his record-breaking move from Borussia Dortmund last summer, Ousmane Dembele is yet to hit the ground running in the Spanish top flight, largely due to the injuries. However, the highly rated attacker will have a huge chance of making a big impression against a lowly Las Palmas this midweek.
New signing Philipe Coutinho should be replaced by Andres Iniesta in the left-midfield position. The veteran playmaker will be one of Barcelona’s main weapons in the creative department. His pinpoint passes and stunning vision will hand Barcelona the upper hand.
Someone who needs no introduction, Lionel Messi will start alongside Luis Suarez in the Barcelona frontline. The Argentine superstar has already netted 30 goals this season and has provided 16 assists. Stopping him will be literally impossible for a weak looking Las Palmas defence.
Finally, Luis Suarez will lead the attack for Barcelona this midweek. The Uruguayan has been Barcelona’s second highest scorer this season, scoring 23 goals in just 36 games.
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