Barcelona will be boosted by the return of first-choice left-back Jordi Alba when they face off against Sevilla at Camp Nou on Sunday night.
Barcelona will be aiming to make it four wins in a row in all competitions, when they play hosts to Julen Lopetegui’s Sevilla on Matchday 8 of the 2019-20 La Liga this weekend.
Ahead of Sevilla’s visit on Sunday, Barcelona have been greeted by some good news as Jordi Alba and Ansu Fati have recovered from their respective injuries and have been picked in the 19-man squad named by manager Ernesto Valverde on the eve of the game.
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However, the Blaugrana will have to make do without Clement Lenglet, who is suspended for the game after receiving a red card against Getafe last week. His compatriot Samuel Umtiti is also ruled out with an injury, meaning another Frenchman, Jean-Clair Todibo, is set for his first start of the season. He will be partnered by seasoned campaigner Gerard Pique.
Alba’s return comes as a timely boost for Barcelona as they are without fellow left-back Junior Firpo. Speaking of the Spaniard in his press conference, Valverde said (h/t MARCA), “Not having a specific left-footed full-back is a bit unnatural, but Nelson [Semedo] and Sergi Roberto have done well. We’re hoping Jordi Alba can be brought back soon, even in tomorrow’s game.”
Alba is likely to slot into the left-back slot against Sevilla on Sunday night. Nelson Semedo, who started in that position against Inter in midweek, is expected to move to his regular right-back slot, with Sergi Roberto dropping out of the team. Marc-Andre ter Stegen will continue to man the goal for Barcelona.
Carles Alena has once again been omitted from the squad by the manager, while Arturo Vidal, who had a solid outing after coming on as a substitute against Inter, is unlikely to get a starting berth. Valverde is likely to stick with his trusted midfield unit of Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets and Arthur, with Ivan Rakitic likely to get some minutes from the bench against his former club.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez inspired the comeback win against Inter earlier in the week. The duo looked deadly in the second half, which bodes well for Barcelona heading into the weekend clash. Both Messi and Suarez are obvious starters in attack for the Catalans.
The third attacking slot will be a toss-up between marquee signing Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele, who recently returned from injury. When quizzed about their roles in the squad, manager Valverde said, “Positions in the team always vary. Every game is different and they can even play together. We’ll see tomorrow who plays, but we have a lot of options.”
Given Griezmann’s recent struggles on the pitch, there is a strong chance that Valverde could hand Dembele his first start since the opening fixture against Athletic Bilbao.
Predicted Barcelona XI (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Todibo, Alba; de Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Suarez, Dembele