Barcelona host Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on Saturday night in a match which could see Ernesto Valverde’s side extend their lead at the top of the table to 11 points with seven matches remaining.
La Blaugrana are coming off a thrilling 4-4 draw with Villarreal on Tuesday night in a match where they blew a two-goal lead to fall 4-2 behind, before scoring two last gasp goals to rescue a point
That minor setback aside, Barça have been in fine form of late and will look at this match as the perfect warm up to their mid-week Champions League tie with Manchester United.
Here’s how Barça could line up at kick off.
3. Goalkeeper and Defenders
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – Ter Stegen comes into the game having conceded more than three goals for the first time this season. Whilst the 26-year-old German international wasn’t at fault, he will need to shore up his defence if Barça are to keep Atletico at bay.
Sergi Roberto (RB) – The Spanish right-back started the season with a number of injuries, but has become a mainstay of the side since regaining fitness. Has a good attacking mindset and can spring Barça on the counter, but will need to focus on his defensive positioning to nullify the threat of Antoine Griezmann.
Gerard Pique (CB) – Pique was rested against Villarreal, the first time he has failed to appear in La Liga this season. Will be recalled to stabilise things in defence.
Samuel Umtiti (CB) – The French World Cup winner has had an up and down season, and has been linked with a move away from the club this summer. Will be relied upon to set the tone alongside Pique at the back.
Jordi Alba (LB) – Alba has arguably been in the best form of his career over recent months, helping Barça cruise to the top of La Liga. Despite losing some pace over the past couple of seasons, his defensive positioning is better than ever – a vital component to the side.
Ivan Rakitic (RCM) – Rakitic was another player to be rested for the match against Villarreal, coming on for the final 17 minutes. The Croatian will step back into the starting XI, but won’t have it all his own way against Atletico.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – Busquets celebrated the tenth anniversary of his first cap for the Spanish national team on Wednesday and it’s hard to imagine the midfielder is only 30. The Spaniard will be deployed in his usual defensive midfielder role.
Arthur (LCM) – Arthur has recently come into criticism over his fitness, with the rigours of European football seemingly taking their toll. With Rafinha and Arturo Vidal absent, the Brazilian will need to step up for his side and put his problems behind him.
Lionel Messi (RW) – Messi came on as a substitute for La Blaugrana against Villarreal and bagged yet another goal. He’s in sublime form and shows no sign of letting up.
Luis Suarez (ST) – The 32-year-old’s last gasp winner at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Tuesday night showed the determination of the side to win another La Liga title. Suarez will be keen on adding to his 22 goals and 11 assists so far this season.
Philippe Coutinho (LW) – Coutinho could potentially be on his way out of the Camp Nou after just 18 months with the club, but a strong performance could trigger a re-think. Has performed better of late.