Arguably the best midfielder of his generation - and perhaps of any generation - Xavi Hernandez has been struggling in recent weeks with a troublesome thigh injury. As a result of this thigh injury, Xavi has put in some below-par performances (notably his first-leg display against AC Milan), and missed a few other matches too (including Spain's 1-1 draw with Finland in a FIFA World Cup qualifier); but when it's mattered, Xavi has still produced the goods.
Xavi broke the resistance of a disciplined AC Milan defense with two crucial assists in the second-leg of Barcelona's 4-2 aggregate win in the Round of 16 - and without the Catalan pulling the strings in midfield, there's a real possibility that the Blaugrana would have been eliminated. Of course, Xavi paid the price for his somewhat premature return and consequently missed Barcelona's next match - a 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano - which ultimately led to another relapse as the Catalan again paid the price for an early return in a crucial international fixture for Spain.
Maybe Xavi has fully recovered from his thigh injury? Certainly, he has received the medical green light to return to action - just like he did prior to the second fixture with AC Milan - and even if Xavi isn't at 100%, he's still likely to perform better than Cesc Fabregas who has struggled for form in the past couple of months. Would you be willing to risk another injury by starting Xavi tonight, or would you play it safe and leave the Catalan on the bench?