Barcelona will have to do without the services of their expensive new recruit Ousmane Dembele as they welcome Eibar to Camp Nou tonight.
Ousmane Dembele sustained hamstring injury against Getafe on Saturday, which could see him being sidelined for a few months following an impending surgery the Frenchman is set to undergo in Finland. Rafinha continues to be out with a knee injury as well, but Arda Turan is expected to be available.
Ernesto Valverde will have to resort to rotating his team and relying on the depth in his squad on Tuesday since this will be Barcelona’s third match over the last seven days. Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the manager expressed his views on making changes in his team.
“I don’t think we’ve had any problems really until now,” said Valverde. “But every game is different. Sometimes we have less time to prepare. Sometimes when you play on Saturday. I’m sure we will make changes for tomorrow’s game, but every change we make is to maintain the style and the rhythm.”
The Barcelona boss also added, “You can’t get through the whole season with just 11 players, you have to make changes. Some people say that you can only rotate players when you are losing. When should they be made? That’s something that you have to work out.”
Speaking on Dembele’s replacements, he said, “There are several players on the team that can play that position. Deulofeu, Aleix Vidal, Denis Suarez, André Gomes. Yes we will look for alternatives to put together a starting 11.”
Paulinho could be in line for a start after his winner at Getafe. Meanwhile, Denis Suarez could also come in and fill Andres Iniesta’s position against Eibar. With Dembele out, Gerard Deulofeu is likely to feature in attack alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Samuel Umtiti and Paco Alcacer, however, have been left out with Valverde calling up Aleix Vidal, Lucas Digne and Thomas Vermaelen into his matchday squad. Nelson Semedo was rested on Saturday, so the Portuguese is likely to return to the team tonight.
As far as the midfield is concerned, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta have started every game since the international break and could get a day off here. That, in turn, will create a strong chance for three players that were instrumental in their win against Getafe – Sergi Roberto, Paulinho and Denis Suarez.