Barcelona face Real Madrid in El Clasico on Sunday night, and the result could be decisive in the outcome of this season’s La Liga title battle.
Zinedine Zidane’s side trail the Catalan giants by two points heading into this crunch meeting after they slipped up last weekend.
However, both sides were left disappointed in the Champions League in midweek, and so they’ll be hoping to get back to winning ways and give themselves a major boost in what should be a thrilling encounter between two top sides.
The initial pressure and focus will be on the two coaches and the starting line-ups that they go with, and according to Sport, there could be two key changes from Quique Setien to the Barcelona XI that faced Napoli on Tuesday night.
The first is Clement Lenglet coming in for Samuel Umtiti in the heart of the defence, while the other would see Arthur replacing Ivan Rakitic in midfield.
Those are two experienced individuals that would be dropping out, but given the technical quality that Arthur possesses and the partnership that Lenglet has built with Gerard Pique, it seems as though it could be a sensible double change from the Barcelona coach.
Meanwhile, as reported by AS this week, Pique is expected to be fit to take his place in the starting line-up after suffering a late injury scare against Napoli and having to limp off.
It’s suggested that the defensive stalwart didn’t even need to undergo tests on his ankle, and so there should be no reason as to why he’s not available.
One other boost could be possible, as Jordi Alba returned to training with the rest of the group on Friday for part of the session, as per the club’s official site, and so he could yet take his place at left-back ahead of Junior Firpo.
In turn, it’s a strong line-up from the reigning La Liga champions, but they’ll need to be on form and ready for the fight at the Bernabeu if they wish to come out on top and collect all three points to put themselves in a commanding position in the title race with just 12 games left after this weekend.
Possible Barcelona XI vs Real Madrid: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Junior; De Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Vidal, Messi, Griezmann (as per Sport above).