Barcelona will look to secure their place in the Champions League last four on Tuesday night, as they travel to Italy to face Roma.
The Catalan giants will take a 4-1 aggregate lead into the second leg, and so they will be heavily fancied to advance given that they’re in such a commanding position.
However, Ernesto Valverde will undoubtedly be keeping his players focused on the task in hand, and he’ll demand another solid performance in order to avoid any scares.
Edin Dzeko’s away goal gives the Serie A giants a glimmer of hope, but naturally, Barcelona will be favourites to progress at the expense of Eusebio Di Francesco’s men.
With regards to team news for Barca, Philippe Coutinho will of course miss out as he’s ineligible to feature in the Champions League, while Andres Iniesta, Samuel Umtiti and Jordi Alba were all rested for the win over Leganes at the weekend and could be in line to return to the starting line-up.
There is one ongoing concern for the La Liga leaders though, as Sergio Busquets didn’t feature at the weekend, although he has been included in the squad to face Roma, as per the tweet below.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 8, 2018
It remains to be seen if he’s fit enough to feature, as he did play in the first leg and so perhaps Valverde is simply managing him as he gets back to full fitness for a crucial period of the campaign. As noted by Marca though, he trained alone last week which raises concern.
Despite that, given what’s at stake for Barcelona this week, it would come as no surprise if Valverde went with the strongest line-up possible and rotated in La Liga given their healthy 11-point lead at the top of the table.
However, with a Copa del Rey final to consider coupled with the title run-in and potential Champions League semi-finals, he may choose not to risk Busquets in this one, while also adopting a more solid defensive shape to protect their lead.
Possible Barcelona XI vs Roma: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Sergi Roberto, Paulinho, Rakitic; Iniesta, Messi, Suarez.