Jordi Alba should be fit to start while Clement Lenglet and Arthur will return when Barcelona take on Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
Barcelona will be keen to consolidate their place atop the La Liga standings when they lock horns with Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night. And, Quique Setien has been handed a major injury boost ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Jordi Alba has been passed fit to return to action for Barcelonaafter recovering from an injury that had kept him out of action for the last couple of weeks. During his pre-match press conference (h/t Barca Blaugranes), Setien remained coy as to whether Alba will start against Real Madrid.
The Barcelona manager said, “He’s pretty good, and the feelings are positive. We just have to decide with him whether he is going to start or not. We will see. Of course he is confident.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 29, 2020
Setien was also asked to comment on Gerard Pique’s status after the veteran defender picked up an ankle injury during the 1-1 draw with Napoli in the Champions League earlier this week. The Barcelona boss confirmed that Pique is fit, saying, “He has recovered well, he will not have any problems.”
Alba should be given the nod to start in the left-back slot. On the opposite flank, Nelson Semedo is a certain starter, with Sergi Roberto still out injured. Pique is an automatic pick as well after being given the green light, with Clement Lenglet being his partner at the heart of the Barcelona defence, where he will replace Samuel Umtiti.
In midfield, one change is in the offing, with Ivan Rakitic dropping out of the lineup after an underwhelming display against Napoli. Arthur should replace the Croat and will have the onus on him to provide the creative impetus. Arthur will have Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong for company in the middle of the park.
In attack, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann are certain starters. As for the final spot, Arturo Vidal should make way, having started as an auxiliary forward in the last two games.
Ansu Fati and Martin Braithwaite will contest for the final spot and Setien was quizzed about the prospect of handing Braithwaite his full Barcelona debut. The Barcelona boss replied, “We do not rule anything out. We have alternatives laid out. We will decide on some things as we go. Hopefully the decisions are valid.”
Braithwaite might have to wait till he makes his first start for Barcelona, meaning Griezmann will lead the line against Real Madrid. Fati will take up the final slot, starting on the left flank.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; de Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Griezmann, Fati