Building momentum is the name of the game for Luis Enrique and FC Barcelona tonight, as they look to secure their fourth successive win in all competitions with a win over newly-promoted Deportivo La Coruna at the Riazor. Following on from a convincing win over reigning champions Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou last weekend, the Blaugrana will be full of confidence for tonight's trip and overwhelming favourites to bring the three points back to Catalunya.
However, as revealed this morning by Blaugrana head coach Luis Enrique, they will have to do so without the services of their club captain, Xavi Hernandez. The Catalan midfielder rejoined training this week but has not received medical clearance in time to make the squad. Elsewhere, Jeremy Mathieu misses out with an Achilles problem, while Jordi Masip and Douglas simply didn't make the cut.
Of course, all eyes will be on the Barcelona frontline; despite picking up a heavy knock to his ankle last week, Neymar is expected to start tonight alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez; can our formidable attacking triumvirate combine to deadly effect, just as they did last week against Diego Simeone's reigning champions? Meanwhile, in midfield will Ivan Rakitic continue to serve as Xavi's deputy, or will Rafinha Alcantara force himself into the starting XI after his impressive display in midweek against Elche CF? Only time will tell, but for now here are the 18 names called up by Lucho:
Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo, Marc-Andre ter Stegen;
Defenders: Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Martin Montoya, Marc Bartra, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Adriano Correia;
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Sergi Roberto, Andres Iniesta, Rafinha Alcantara
Attackers: Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Pedro Rodriguez
Expected Starting Line-Up (4-3-3):
Bravo; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar
The match starts at 19:00 CET, and you can follow and comment on all the action right here, on Barça Blaugranes.
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- FC Barcelona News: 17 January 2015; Jeremy Mathieu to Miss Deportivo Game, Isaac Cuenca Excited to Face Barça
- FC Barcelona News: 16 January 2015; Second Team Makes Easy Work of Elche, Set Up Match With Atletico Madrid
- Full Match Highlights: FC Barcelona 4-0 Elche CF