It's matchday! Barcelona travel to the Mestalla for what promises to be a very tough game for the Catalan giants against Valencia, and even though this isn't a match that guarantees three points, Barça are nearly obligated to pick up a victory to stay close to unbeaten leaders Atlético Madrid.
Coach Luis Enrique will have to cope with the absence of his best defender, Gerard Piqué, for the next three weeks, which includes away trips to Valencia, Sevilla and Manchester City. It's Next Man Up now and Javier Mascherano, Samuel Umtiti and Jérémy Mathieu will have to step up their games to make Piqué's absence less traumatic. Jordi Alba is also out, and Lucas Digne also needs to be at his best to prove he's a reliable backup to the longtime starting full-back.
Moving forward, however, Enrique has very good options. Busquets, Rakitic, André Gomes and Denis Suarez are all in good form, and all four can start and form a strong, talented midfield to sustain Valencia's pressure at Mestalla.
Up front, Lionel Messi is coming off a hat-trick, and he'll face one of his favorite teams to score against. Neymar has just signed a contract extension and he wants to prove why the club is committing so much money to keep him happy. Luis Suárez received a Golden Boot on Thursday, so that's a good motivation to show why he's the best striker on Earth playing in one of the most hostile environments in the Spanish league.
Valencia coach Cesare Prandelli has no major concerns and will be able to field his best possible side, which includes Barça target João Cancelo, who will play as a right winger. Former Blaugrana Martín Montoya will start at right-back, and the Spaniard might want to show he's not as bad as the people in Barcelona think he is.
Valencia squad: Diego Alves, Ryan, Domenech, Cancelo, Montoya, Santos, Mangala, Garay, Abdennour, Gayà, Cartabia, Suárez, Medrán, Parejo, Pérez, Nani, Rodrigo, Bakkali, Munir, Santi Mina
Out: Siqueira (unspecified)
Barcelona squad: Ter Stegen, Masip, Roberto, Vidal, Mascherano, Umtiti, Mathieu, Digne, Busquets, Gomes, Rakitic, Iniesta, Denis, Messi, Suárez, Neymar, Paco Alcácer, Aleñà
Out: Cillessen (ankle), Piqué (ankle), Alba (hamstring), Arda Turan (elbow), Rafinha (rib)