This should be about as easy as they come for Barcelona tomorrow. Yes they are away from home, but they go into the game top of La Liga and face Leganes who are rock bottom of the division.
That said, the Catalan giants have looked vulnerable away from home this season with losses to Athletic Bilbao and Levante, while they could only manage a draw away to Osasuna earlier in the season as well. That does suggest this might not be as straight-forward a result as you might expect.
Ernesto Valverde’s squad for the game has been released and it certainly looks strong going forward:
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 22, 2019
It will be interesting to see if Valverde persists with Antoine Griezmann or tries something different. The Frenchman was the marquee signing this past summer, and so the politics at the club might dictate he must play.
However, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele have been more impressive this season and could provide some sort of spark in the forward line.
The centre of midfield arguably hasn’t been the same since Andres Iniesta and Xavi moved on. Ivan Rakitic has been a reliable figure but looks out of the picture for now. Arthur has been a consistent presence in there this season and some fans are upset that he misses out:
— Justin ???? (@maxmullings) November 22, 2019
Arthur again wtf ????????????
— TheWarrior58HUN (@HunWarrior58) November 22, 2019
Arthur? Lenglet ?
— jen ??? (@ppeterparkour) November 22, 2019
Is Arthur okay? Is his left ball itching or something like that? I don’t know, I mean, since Valverde never calls him up, I’m just wondering ?
— Henry (@HashtagHenry__) November 22, 2019
— Khaled (@FCB_077) November 22, 2019
Qu’est ce qu’il a Arthur Melo?
— Don Pedro (@DonBeni7fois) November 22, 2019
Arthur: *argues with Messi during intl break*
Few days later
*isn’t selected in the squad*
It really is club de amigos
— Nafay • ???? (@Nafay_n) November 22, 2019
The Brazilian’s absence does suggest either Arturo Vidal or Carles Alena might get a chance to play instead. When you look at the strength of the squad, Barca really should come away with all three points.
However, much could also depend on whether or not Valverde has one eye on Barcelona’s clash with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday night, as that could also influence his selection decisions this weekend in terms of resting key individuals.
Nevertheless, with plenty of time in between games, it would arguably be a surprise to see any of Barca’s main men sitting out as they look to protect their spot at the top of the table in La Liga for another week.
One notable absentee though will be defender Clement Lenglet, with Barcelona confirming in an official statement that the Frenchman has been ruled out after picking up a calf injury while on international duty.
Given the 24-year-old has been an almost ever-present so far this season having made 14 appearances, his absence will be a blow for Valverde who will be forced into a reshuffle at the back as a result.
Incidentally, Arthur is mentioned in that statement, but the reasoning behind his exclusion is simply that he has been ‘left out’.