In their last away game of the season, Barcelona travel to the Canary Islands to face UD Las Palmas at the Estadio Gran Canaria.
As per the squad list released by Barcelona’s official website, the players that will be travelling to the Canary Islands are Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Masip, Rakitic, Sergio, Denis, Arda, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Neymar Jr, Mascherano, Alcácer, Alba, Digne, Gomes, Umtiti, Aleñá and Marlon.
Gerard Pique joins Rafinha, Aleix Vidal and Jeremy Mathieu on Barcelona’s injured list, while Sergi Roberto will be serving his suspension this week. With both Pique and Roberto out of contention, Luis Enrique will likely be facing a dilemma as to which formation he ought to use tonight.
In his pre-match press conference, he said: “We will use the system which will give us the biggest advantage, we do not lineup according to the setup of the opponent.” So it will be interesting to see whether the 47-year-old sticks with the usual 4-3-3 or reverts back to the 3-4-3 formation.
Due to a shortage of right-backs at the moment, Luis Enrique may be forced to deploy his side in the 3-4-3 formation. Marlon Santos could start at center-back alongside Umtiti and Mascherano or Lucas Digne could be used there as well, having played there earlier this season.
Jordi Alba and Ivan Rakitic will like play more advanced roles as the left and right wingbacks, with Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets in the center of midfield. Andre Gomes may also be in line for a start, after being left out of the starting XI against Villarreal last week.
While Paco Alcacer and Arda Turan are also available, it is unlikely that Enrique will make any changes to his front three of Messi, Neymar and Suarez. Too much rotation within the squad might backfire, especially given Las Palmas’ stunning home record in the League this season.
Enrique said: “It is a game of huge difficulty. They play some of the best football in the division, as well as having had an excellent season.” Quique Setien’s men have secured their top flight status for another season and that has a lot to do with their record at the Gran Canaria.
Out of the 18 League games they have played there this term, they have been defeated only thrice and drawn 6 games at home. This is Setien’s last home game in charge at the club, as he won’t be continuing as manager at the end of the season and Los Amarillos will certainly want to send him off on a good note.