Gerard Pique is fit and available for selection, while Pedri is set to start again when Barcelona lock horns with Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.
Barcelona will be aiming to make it two wins in two games in the 2021/22 La Liga when they go head-to-head against Athletic Bilbao away from home at San Mames on Saturday night.
Heading into the game, manager Ronald Koeman has no fresh concerns. However, Barcelona continue to be without the services of Sergio Aguero, Oscar Mingueza, Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Marc-Andre ter Stegen due to injuries. In contrast, Miralem Pjanic, Samuel Umtiti and Ilaix Moriba have been left out of the squad.
Leading into Saturday’s game, there had been some speculations regarding veteran defender Gerard Pique picking up an injury, but Koeman, speaking in his pre-match press conference, denied any such development, insisting that the 34-year-old was fit and available for selection against Los Leones.
“These rumours, this alarm about Pique yesterday was a bit surprising. He had a couple of niggles in training, but it wasn’t really anything. He’s available to play tomorrow without any problems,” Koeman said (h/t Barca Blaugranes). Pique should, thus, start at the heart of the defence again, alongside new signing Eric Garcia.
Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba should also hold on to their spots in the Barcelona backline, while Neto continues between the sticks in the absence of Ter Stegen.
Moving into the middle of the park, there are unlikely to be any alterations made with Sergio Busquets slotting in as the holding midfielder, flanked by the dynamic duo of Frenkie de Jong and Pedri. The latter has been playing relentlessly over the past year for club and country, and Koeman admitted that while he will start on Saturday, he will be given a two-week vacation after that.
“It’s true that we’ve got some time to think about what’s best for Pedri. He will play tomorrow and then he’ll have two weeks of holiday so he doesn’t go into November and December with physical problems. We’ve given him two weeks of holiday because that’s what Pedri needs. After all the matches he played, the two tournaments, he needs at least two weeks rest,” the Barcelona boss said.
Memphis Depay made his competitive debut for Barcelona against Real Sociedad last weekend and impressed heavily. The Netherlands international should start again in attack for the Catalans, where he will be partnered by Antoine Griezmann and Martin Braithwaite, who scored two goals in the win last time out.
Barcelona Predicted XI: Neto, Dest, Garcia, Pique, Alba, de Jong, Busquets, Pedri, Griezmann, Braithwaite, Depay.