Barcelona returned to action on Saturday in a very important La Liga match against Deportivo La Coruña, and manager Luis Enrique has a major selection headache due to an injury to a major piece of the squad, right-back Sergi Roberto. Who would have thought that sentence would ever be written?
Roberto will be ready to play the Champions League match against Manchester City next Wednesday, but he's basically ruled out to play against Deportivo, which is a problem for two reasons: Sergi is perhaps the most consistent player on the squad at the moment, and because of the whole Aleix Vidal mess, there's no real replacement for him.
Which is why Enrique is trying a few different things in training, according to reports in Spain. We don't know exactly what those things are, so here are two things we thing Lucho could do on Saturday.
Option 1: Three at the back, Leganés-style
The formation above reaped phenomenal results in the La Liga trip to Leganés, which was one of the best performances of the season so far. Roberto was rested in that game and Vidal wasn't on the squad list, so Lucho surprised us all (and the team) and put his three main center-backs together, with Rafinha Alcântara and Jordi Alba functioning as wing-backs. Alba is injured, so Lucas Digne is the natural replacement on the left side, with Rafinha staying on the right.
Lionel Messi won't start and Luis Suárez may get rested, so Arda Turan and Paco Alcácer could start alongside Neymar in the front three. Sergio Busquets could be partnered by either Andrés Iniesta or André Gomes, with Gerard Piqué and Samuel Umtiti starting in the back line. Enrique plans to rest Javier Mascherano, so even if he decides to use the 3-4-3 formation, Jérémy Mathieu (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO) could start in Masche's place, with Piqué moving to the right side, Mathieu going to the left and Umtiti staying in the middle.
There is even some possibility that Umtiti starts on the right side of the defense, and Lucho has used left-footed players on the right before, so it wouldn't be a huge shock. Still, the lineup above looks the most likely at the moment, with Mascherano being the only real doubt.
Option 2: Just play Aleix Vidal, please
Seriously, this could be Aleix Vidal's last chance to prove himself, and against a slightly weak Deportivo side at home, why not just try it? It would keep the formation honest and familiar to everyone, including Vidal, who would have the freedom to go forward all game long and try to be a factor on offense. His defense is atrocious, but with Depor missing their offensive firepower after selling Lucas Pérez to Arsenal, that might not be too much an issue.
Also, without Messi — who is likely to play just a few minutes in the second half —, Aleix will probably get the ball more. Leo doesn't usually link up with full-backs not named Dani Alves, but Rafinha or Arda will look to give Aleix the ball if he plays.
What is your idea to replace Roberto on Saturday, Blaugranes? Comment away!