It looked like Barcelona were in turmoil in January when Ernesto Valverde was sacked and performances were poor.
The arrival of Quique Setien didn’t change a lot, and it looked like Real Madrid would have a chance to canter to the league title.
Unfortunately for Zinedine Zidane, no wins in their last two games has allowed Barca to return to the summit. They host the Clasico tonight and know a win would take them back to the top of the league, but Lionel Messi is now in form and Real are reeling from their loss to Man City.
There may have been some fans who were hoping Martin Braithwaite might get to start tonight, but Setien has opted for a pretty safe line up:
Our starting 1??1?? for #ElClásico!
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 1, 2020
One player who has taken a lot of stick this year is Ivan Rakitic, so there’s a few fans who are delighted that he won’t be starting tonight:
NO RAKITIC??????? pic.twitter.com/FtCPghQwl5
— Setien’s Son (@SonOfSetien) March 1, 2020
no rakitic, yes party @leplusbosese
— ???? ?? (@yamsdrb) March 1, 2020
No rakitic vamosssss
— uriel ?? (@oreo____o) March 1, 2020
NO RAKITIC! YESSSS!
— ?? ????? ? (@__JavierHerrera) March 1, 2020
NO RAKITIC VAMOOSSS
— • ?? (@crishtun) March 1, 2020
NO RAKITIC WE WON
— Erie (@EricSchults) March 1, 2020
It might seem harsh on the Croatian when you consider how important he’s been to the club over the years, but there is a common complaint that he slows the game down too much and doesn’t play enough progressive passes.
The bench has plenty of intrigue too with Ansu Fati and Braithwaite there to come on if they do need to find a goal, but Rakitic could still make an appearance if they need someone to help control things in the midfield.