The injury crisis is almost over at Barcelona, though there are still five players unavailble at the moment. Four of them should return after the international break, which is good news ahead of tough months in November and December for the Catalan giants. Still, Luis Enrique has two massive games to get through with the big injury list, and the first one takes place on Tuesday against Manchester City in a very important Champions League match.
How will Lucho line up his men for battle against Pep Guardiola?
The answer is simple: Gala XI. Although three of the regular members of the best possible starting lineup (Piqué, Alba, Iniesta) aren't available through injury, their replacements aren't bad either, meaning we will see a very good Almost Gala on Tuesday.
Marc-André ter Stegen comes in goal, and it's very easy to see how much comfortable he feels this season not having to worry with another goalkeeper taking his spot. Ter Stegen doesn't just play Champions League games, and the rhythm he gets from playing every three days is huge plus for the German keeper, who looks very good at the moment.
In front of him, the only healthy first team defenders are Sergi Roberto, Javier Mascherano, Big Sammy Umtiti and Lucas Digne, so the back four is easily set. There are two Barça B options in the squad (Marlon and Nili) and they are good, but it wouldn't be a good idea to throw them into a Champions League away game against a Pep Guardiola offense.
In midfield, Sergio Busquets was rested in the game against Granada and André Gomes played very few minutes, which suggests both will start on Tuesday. Alongside them, Ivan Rakitic is always picked, so expect the same to happen against City.
Up front, the 'MSN' trio was very poor over the weekend and they must make up for their lack of quality displayed in the Granada game. City's defense isn't the strongest ever and they won't have Claudio Bravo, who was sent off in the first game. City fans know that Willy Caballero could be a hero or a villain (though he's a villain for most of the time), and if he has a poor night, the Trio of Death will have a happy 90 minutes.
So this is the lineup expected to be used by Luis Enrique at Etihad Stadium:
The Barça Blaugranes community voted on their favorite lineup, and you want the exact same team as predicted above, although the vote was tight between Gomes, Rafinha and Arda, with André just getting the edge. I love it when we agree!