After Barcelona wasted all of their points at the top of the table, now only holding a tie-breaker as advantage, there is no other choice than to win all of the remaining five games to win La Liga. With four straight matches without a victory, it has become harder to feel confident in what the Blaugrana will accomplish this season.
But the wins have to come regardless, and the first of five finals is against Deportivo La Coruña on Wednesday. Luis Enrique is forced to change the starting lineup from the Valencia loss, and here is a prediction of what the team will look like at Riazor.
Alves - Bartra - Mascherano - Alba
Rakitic - Busquets - Arda
Messi - Suárez - Neymar
With Gerard Piqué suspended and his two immediate backups (Mathieu and Vermaelen) injured, there is no other choice to pair with Mascherano. Marc Bartra will play in a Barcelona match for the first time in three centuries, and the Spaniard will need to step up against a tough environment with the added pressure of replacing Piqué.
Dani Alves is likely to return from his rest-slash-Instagram-related-punishment against Valencia and start at right-back. Andrés Iniesta has played a lot of minutes lately, and with the return of Arda Turan from suspension, Enrique could give the club captain at least 45 minutes of rest and start the Turkish midfielder, who hopes to build on the good minutes he played against Atlético Madrid last week.
Up front, Lionel Messi played well last Sunday, and after finally scoring his 500th career goal, he could start to find the back of the net more often. Luis Suárez is fighting more than he is playing, but give him one chance and he will find his best. Neymar is in the most worrying form at the moment, and if he escapes suspension on Wednesday, he needs to show his talents again.
What do you think, Blaugranes? Agree with the lineup? What's your prediction?