Antoine Griezmann should start in place of Lionel Messi while Ousmane Dembele is also in contention to feature when Barcelona take on Eibar on Tuesday.
Barcelona will be aiming to reduce the gap to the top of the La Liga table when they lock horns with SD Eibar at Camp Nou on Tuesday evening in matchweek 16. Ahead of the game, manager Ronald Koeman has been greeted with mixed news on the injury front.
Barcelona will be without captain and talisman Lionel Messi, who has been granted an extra couple of days vacation as he recovers from an ankle issue. However, they will be able to call upon Ousmane Dembele, who has recovered from his injury and trained with the team on the eve of the game.
Providing an update on the duo in his pre-match presser (h/t Barca Universal), Koeman said, “Leo had some ankle discomfort. He couldn’t train or play tomorrow, that’s why we have given him two more days of vacation. Dembélé is recovered, he has trained with the group and in principle, he will be called up for tomorrow.”
Apart from Messi, Barcelona will also have to deal with the absence of left-back Jordi Alba, who is suspended for the game, while Gerard Pique and Ansu Fati are both long-term absentees. Having used the three-man backline to good effect against Real Valladolid last time out, Koeman is expected to stick with the same setup on Tuesday.
There is no looking past Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal for Barcelona while Clement Lenglet is expected to partner youngsters Oscar Mingueza and Ronald Araujo in the three-man defensive setup. New signing Sergino Dest is a certainty to feature as the right wing-back but Junior Firpo should get the nod on the opposite flank in Alba’s absence.
Miralem Pjanic had a good game last time out against Valladolid and that should be enough for him to hold on to his spot in the starting lineup ahead of Sergio Busquets. Partnering him in the centre of the park for Barcelona against Eibar should be Frenkie de Jong, who has been an ever-present figure under Koeman.
Pedri enjoyed a brilliant game against Valladolid last time out and should start again on Tuesday evening. He will slot in alongside Antoine Griezmann, who ought to come in for the injured Messi against Eibar. The two will operate in the space behind the main striker Martin Braithwaite, who has been in good form of late.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo, Lenglet; Dest, Pjanic, de Jong, Firpo; Griezmann, Pedri; Braithwaite