Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele will be in contention to feature when Barcelona welcome Inter Milan to Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Barcelona will be hoping to record their first Champions League win of the season when they play hosts to Inter Milan at Camp Nou on Wednesday night. And, Ernesto Valverde has been handed a major boost ahead of his side’s second Group F fixture, with Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele a part of the matchday squad.
Defence now remains the only major area of concern for the Barcelona manager, with Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti out for much of October. In the continued absence of the duo, Junior Firpo and Clement Lenglet are certain starters.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 1, 2019
Firpo will continue to be Barcelona’s left-back, while Lenglet will partner Gerard Pique at the heart of the defence. On the right flank, the hosts’ only change in the starting lineup should come into effect, with Nelson Semedo replacing Sergi Roberto. There is no looking past Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal for Valverde.
The three-man midfield unit ought to remain unchanged, particularly due to a blossoming creative partnership of Arthur and Frenkie de Jong. Arthur and de Jong should be joined by Sergio Busquets in the middle of the park, leaving Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Carles Alena as backup midfield options.
Up ahead in attack, comes the good news for Barcelona, with Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele part of the squad announced by Valverde for the visit of Inter Milan, meaning the duo could make a return to the team after swiftly recovering from their respective injuries.
The Barcelona boss provided an update on Messi and Dembele during his pre-match presser (h/t Barca Blaugranes). He said, “We have to wait for training. Ousmane has done very little and Leo some light training so we’ll see today if he can finish it. But I reiterate we will not take any risks. We can’t be happy about it. Dembele has an injury similar to last season and we’ll see if we can control it.”
Judging by Valverde’s comments, Messi seems to be the likelier of the two to start against Inter Milan. But, the Barcelona captain’s struggles early in the season ought to have taught the manager a lesson, meaning Carles Perez should retain his place in the three-pronged attack alongside Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez, meaning Messi will be an emergency option for the hosts.
Predicted Barcelona XI (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; de Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Perez, Suarez, Griezmann