Ernesto Valverde has just four first-team players on the sidelines ahead of Barcelona’s first game of 2019, against Getafe at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez
Barcelona will be aiming to begin 2019 with a bang when they travel to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez to take on Getafe on Sunday night. And, Ernesto Valverde has an improving squad, as far as injuries and fitness issues are concerned.
Sergi Roberto and Malcom are fit again and have been included as part of the Barcelona travelling squad to the capital. Valverde though, provided no update on team news, instead choosing to focus on the test that beckons in the form of Getafe during his pre-match press conference.
“Getafe are a tough side who create intense pressure and are convincing. They’re battling for a spot in European play and will be a difficult opponent.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 5, 2019
Samuel Umtiti is a major absentee for the visitors. But, with Clement Lenglet stepping up superbly in his stead, Valverde does not have any major concern in defence, especially with Jeison Murillo now being an option for the Barcelona boss.
Murillo though, is unlikely to make his debut against Getafe, with Levante instead being his first opponents in the Copa del Rey. Lenglet should thus, be partnered by Gerard Pique at the heart of the Barcelona defence, Marc-Andre ter Stegen taking his customary position in goal.
Jordi Alba is a certain starter at left-back, but the position on the opposite flank is up for grabs, with Sergi Roberto now fit and available. The Spanish international though, is likely to miss out, owing to Nelson Semedo’s solid form in his absence.
Up ahead in midfield, there were major concerns over the availability of Sergio Busquets this week. But, the veteran midfielder has travelled to Getafe, and should start as the holding midfielder. His partners in the middle of the park are likely to be Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal, with Arthur missing out.
In attack, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are certain starters, the latter due to Munir El Haddadi’s omission from the travelling squad. The final spot in the side is a toss-up between Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Malcom.
Dembele is likely to get the nod ahead of the Brazilian duo, owing to his scintillating form before the winter break, meaning Coutinho and Malcom become impact substitutes for Barcelona.