Ernesto Valverde will be without six first-team players as Barcelona travel to Estadio Municipal de Butarque to take on Leganes on Saturday.
Barcelona will have the chance to further widen the gap between them and Real Madrid when they travel to Estadio Municipal de Butarque on Saturday to face Leganes. Ahead of the trip to Madrid though, Ernesto Valverde has quite a few problems on his hands, with six players on the treatment table.
Javier Mascherano is the latest player to be pick up an injury, after he sustained a hamstring strain while on international duty with Argentina. The injury is a major cause for concern for Valverde, with Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen the only fit centre-backs at his disposal.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference though, the Barcelona boss exuded a sense of calmness as he said he has to deal with the injuries, regardless of their timing. Valverde also took stock of the tricky run of fixtures that is in front of them, starting Saturday.
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“We have good centre backs, you can never predict what’s going to happen and there are always injuries when you least expect it. This Saturday we will put out our best team. We will take into account it is a week with difficult opponents, the first of which is Leganés.”
“They [Leganés] are a team who have conceded in just one game of five at home in the league. It will be a tough game and now we start a difficult run of fixtures up to Christmas, but we know that there is a lot at stake in these three away games.”
Other than Mascherano, Valverde will also be without Sergi Roberto (hamstring), Rafinha (knee), Arda Turan (foot), Andre Gomes (hamstring) and Ousmane Dembele (thigh), with the latter reportedly expected to return to action earlier than anticipated, perhaps even for the El Clasico next month.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Valverde as far as team news is concerned though, with Aleix Vidal fit and available after recovering from an ankle injury. The Spaniard’s availability would be pleasant news for the Barcelona boss, with no other option beyond Nelson Semedo for the right side of defence.
Leganes boss Asier Garitano, on the other hand, has just two players sidelined, with Jon Ander Serantes (shoulder) and Omar (hamstring) the men on the treatment table. He is also greeted by the positive news of Ruben Perez being available once again after serving his one-match suspension last gameweek.