As we get closer and closer to a Clásico that will likely decide who's winning La Liga this season, one key Blaugrana might not be available for the Spanish derby.
Sergio Busquets, who suffered an ugly knee injury in the Copa del Rey win against Villarreal, is doing his best to speed up the recovery process to be ready for the match against Real Madrid, but the rehab is not going as well as the medical team expected. Because of that, it is possible that Sergio will not be healthy enough to play.
Javier Mascherano, the easy replacement, is in a tricky situation. He has four yellow cards, and a fifth booking against Eibar this weekend will cause him to also be out of El Clásico with an automatic one-match ban.
Luis Enrique experimented with Ivan Rakitic in the Busquets/Mascherano slot on the 6-1 win against Rayo Vallecano last Sunday. With the small sample size, it is difficult to predict whether or not Rakitic will perform well in that position, especially against such a talented midfield like Madrid's. Also, Ivan has had such a great run as a right central-mid that it wouldn't be a wise choice to change his position on the season's biggest game.
The best alternative to the Busquets/Mascherano spot is Sergi Samper. The Barça B product has played some good minutes with the first team this season, and his campaign with the mini-Blaugrana has been VERY good. Of course, it is difficult to put him under the fire against Real Madrid, but he would be a good choice for the game against Eibar to preserve Mascherano's Clásico availability.
Either way, we've reached that part of the season where your team's depth is really tested. Let's see how Luis Enrique manages this tricky time and fields the best possible lineup in a game that will be pivotal to Barcelona's success this season.
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