Two wins, six goals scored, zero conceded. Barcelona are back.
After excellent performances against Mallorca and Leganes since La Liga restarted, La Blaugrana have maintained a five-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the table, especially important as Los Blancos have a game in hand.
Their next test will be a lot more difficult than their previous two games, however. After facing relegation candidates in their previous post-lockdown outings, Barça take on high flying Sevilla on 19 June, with the Andalusian outfit sitting in third place.
Sevilla need the victory at home too, as they separated from fifth-placed Real Sociedad – who have a game in hand – by just four points.
Here’s how Barça should line up away at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Friday…
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – Along with Jan Oblak, Ter Stegen is one of the best goalkeepers in La Liga right now and has been amongst the best in the world for a good few years now. If he was any other nationality, he’d be closing in on 100 international caps too. Luckily, he’s never overlooked at his club. He’s only missed one league game this season, through injury, and his acrobatics have saved Barcelona on more than one occasion. They’ll need him at his best to keep Lucas Ocampos and the rest at bay.
Nelson Semedo (RB) – Sergi Roberto has been ruled out of the game with a fractured rib, so Semedo is expected to return at right back. The Portuguese is a quality full back when he gets going and he’ll need to be his best to retain his place in the first team when Roberto recovers.
Clement Lenglet (CB) – Lining up against his former club, the Frenchman has missed a number of games in 2020 through suspension and Barça’s rotation system. However, when he’s at his best, Barcelona certainly look a better outfit with him at the back. In fact, three of their last four defeats have come with Lenglet on the bench.
Gerard Pique (CB) – A slight doubt for this game after coming off against Leganes with an ankle knock, Setien is confident the 33-year-old will be fit enough to start. A fixture in the Barça squad for 12 seasons now, Pique is still arguably the club’s most important defender.
Jordi Alba (LB) – Suspended for the Leganes game, Alba should return to the starting lineup without question. Still often cited as the world’s best left back, Alba has two goals and two assists in La Liga in 2019/20.
Arthur (CM) – After a good performance against Leganes, Arthur should keep his place in the team with Frenkie de Jong ruled out with a calf strain. Regularly linked with a swap deal for Miralem Pjanic, Arthur appears determined to stay at Camp Nou. He’ll be out to prove that he deserves his place in the Barcelona team and a big performance against Sevilla wouldn’t hurt.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – Busquets’ importance to Barcelona seems to grow by the game. One of the best midfielders of his generation, he brings real class to the Barça midfield, and is still one of the finest passers of the ball in the game. There are few players in world football better in transition.
Ivan Rakitic (CM) – Another former Sevilla star, the Croatian may be getting on a bit, but he’s still an important part of his team. He’s being used as a substitute more often this season, but he’s still a man for the big occasion. Rakitic might not make it through the full 90 minutes, but his ability to unlock a defence with a deft pass could be used to give La Blaugrana a good start, rather than as an option from the bench.
Lionel Messi (RW) – Messi is still streets ahead of everyone else in the league, with 21 goals and 14 assists, including a goal in both of Barcelona’s games since the restart. It took a rugby tackle for Leganes to stop the Ballon d’Or winner last time out.
Ansu Fati (LW) – The crown prince to Messi’s king, Ansu Fati has had an incredible breakout season. At just 17, he’s managed five strikes in 17 La Liga games this season, as he’s exploded onto the scene. A goal in his last outing against Leganes should mean he keeps his place in the starting lineup.
Antoine Griezmann (CF) – It’s been a mixed debut campaign for Griezmann. After one of the longest transfer sagas in football history, he’s struggled to set the world alight in Catalonia. With Luis Suarez ready for a recall to the lineup, if he fails to produce the goods again, Griezmann may struggle for a starting berth in coming gameweeks.