After a full week of training for the first time in 2017, Barcelona return to action in La Liga this weekend, as they face Atlético Madrid on Sunday. It'll be the last time these two face off at the Vicente Calderón, and this promises to be a very fun match.
Barça and Atlético are actual rivals now after playing against each other multiple times in multiple competitions over the last few years, especially since Luis Enrique took charge of the Blaugrana. His record against Diego Simeone is quite impressive, and he hopes to come out on top again in what could be his last encounter with El Cholo before leaving Barça in the summer.
So how will Barça line up to face Atléti?
The defense is set: Marc-André ter Stegen in goal, Sergi Roberto at right-back, Gerard Piqué and Samuel Umtiti in the middle, and Jordi Alba on the left. With the injuries to Javier Mascherano and Aleix Vidal, and reserves Jérémy Mathieu and Lucas Digne not good enough to play the big games, having Stegen, Roberto, Piqué and Umtiti as the back four is the easy choice, and the best possible combination right now.
In midfield, the major doubt: who starts alongside Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta? The answer used to be Ivan Rakitic, but the Croatian is no longer untouchable. André Gomes is clearly a Luis Enrique favorite, and he is capable of amazing performances. He is also capable of horrible performances, and sometimes he plays amazing and horrible in the same game. We never know which Gomes we're getting, but we do know he's going to play.
Denis Suarez and Rafinha Alcântara have been pretty good this season, but they're clearly below Gomes and Rakitic, so there's no chance they start at the Calderón.
Up front, it's the 'MSN' trio. Paco Alcácer is LOL, Arda Turan is still doubtful to be in the squad and there's no reason to bench Messi, Suárez or Neymar in this game. The PSG match is still 10 days away, so no player should be rested right now.
So this is the most likely starting lineup on Sunday: