Sergino Dest and Francisco Trincao will return, but Riqui Puig has been excluded from the travelling squad as Barcelona prepare to face Alaves on Saturday.
It has been an eventful week for anyone associated with Barcelona. On Saturday, they fell to defeat against Real Madrid in the El Clasico, following which President Josep Bartomeu stepped down from his duties.
It was then capped off with a sensational display at the Allianz Stadium where the Blaugrana outplayed Juventus in the Champions League. Now the pressure is on Barcelona to follow up that victory when they take on Deportivo Alaves on Saturday at the Estadio de Mendizorroza.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 30, 2020
Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Samuel Umtiti returned to training last week, but neither of them will be fully fit to pave their path into the starting lineup just yet. Ronald Koeman was asked to update on their situation during his presser and he said, “Ter Stegen is fine, but he needs a bit more fitness to play, and Umtiti needs to go through a few more training sessions for me to start counting on him.”
Neto will undoubtedly continue in goal, and has proven to be a massive influence in the six-yard box. A backline of four defenders will shield him, with Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as the centre-backs. Sergi Roberto got the nod ahead of Sergino Dest at right-back, but the American likely takes his place in that role. Jordi Alba is expected to retain his spot in the starting lineup.
Koeman-favourite Frenkie de Jong will be one half of the double pivot while Sergio Busquets ought to return to the midfield as Miralem Pjanic slowly returns to full fitness. The biggest takeaway from the matchday squad surrounds Riqui Puig, who has been excluded. Being a fan-favourite, Koeman has already received a lot of criticism for his decision.
“Dropping him from the squad was a technical decision. In several games, we have had 23 players in the squad, but for me, that’s too many players. I prefer that players train well rather than travel if they’re not going to play.”
Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi seemed to combine well for the most part in midweek against Juventus, and we will see both of them starting once more in the four-person attack.
Ansu Fati was benched to make way for Pedri on the left-wing but the birthday boy will return to the starting lineup against Alaves. Finally, Fransisco Trincao will come in as the final piece of the puzzle on the right side of the attacking quartet.
Barcelona Predicted XI: Neto; Dest, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, de Jong; Trincao, Messi, Fati; Griezmann