Gerard Pique and Nelson Semedo are set to return when Barcelona take on Slavia Praha in their third UEFA Champions League fixture of the season.
Barcelona will have top spot in the UEFA Champions League Group F in their sights when they face Slavia Praha at the Sinobo Stadium on Wednesday night. And, Ernesto Valverde has receive a double blow ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti have both sustained knee injuries in the last five days and are not available for Barcelona’s trip to Slavia Praha. Valverde provided an update on Umtiti during his pre-match press conference (h/t Barca Blaugranes) and was hopeful that the injury will keep the Frenchman sidelined for a long time.
“He played a great game and then has trained normally until he received that blow in the end of the session. We hope it’s nothing more, we will wait and see.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 22, 2019
Gerard Pique, who was unavailable this past weekend against Eibar due to a suspension, will come into the side in place of Umtiti, while Nelson Semedo will replace Roberto. Pique will have Clement Lenglet as his partner at the heart of the Barcelona defence, with Jordi Alba completing the back four. Marc-Andre ter Stegen is a certain starter in goal.
Up ahead in midfield, Valverde should name his strongest three-man unit, seeing as their game this weekend against Real Madrid has been postponed. Frenkie de Jong, Arthur and Sergio Busquets will, therefore, keep their places in the starting lineup.
Meanwhile, Ousmane Dembele, like Pique is available after serving a suspension this past weekend. The Frenchman is a part of the travelling squad and is in contention to start. But, comments from the Barcelona boss, hinting as to what the three-pronged attack will look like on Wednesday, do not bode well for Dembele.
“Messi, Suarez and Griezmann could start together tomorrow. They are in a good moment and we need a great game. Dembele, of course, could also play tomorrow. It’s about understanding and that is achieved by playing together. The great players understand each other quickly.”
Judging by Valverde’s comments, it is likely that Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann will start as the front trio once again, leaving Dembele to be a backup option on the bench.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; de Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Suarez, Griezmann