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How should Barcelona line up against Atletico Madrid?

Valencia v Barcelona - Copa del Rey Semi Final Second Leg Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona welcome Atletico Madrid to the Camp Nou on Sunday in a massive game that could have huge ramifications for the destination of the Liga title.

If Barcelona win they will move eight points clear of their nearest challengers, but an away victory would cut the gap to just two points with 11 games left to play.

A massive game for both sides, so how will Barcelona line up on Sunday?


Eibar v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Barcelona should be able to play their strongest defence against Atletico, and given the form of Antoine Griezmann they will need to be at their best.

Jordi Alba will return from suspension at left-back and Gerard Pique should also come back in at centre-back. Manager Ernesto Valverde played down concerns over his fitness ahead of the clash with Las Palmas.

Samuel Umtiti and Sergi Roberto should complete the defence with Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal.


Barcelona v Espanyol - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Who Valverde goes for in midfield is the big question and there were possibly a few clues by his selection on Thursday night.

Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele all started on the bench, which suggests they were being kept back for Sunday’s game and he’ll go with the same team that destroyed Girona.

Of course that also means that Andres Iniesta will drop out and seeing as Valverde has used Coutinho more as a substitute than a starter, it is a tough one to call.

He could also surprise us all by throwing Paulinho or Andre Gomes into the team, but Barca are at home and know that a win would bring a big advantage in La Liga.


Barcelona v Girona - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barring any pre-game injuries the front two will be Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Suarez was pretty awful against Las Palmas but he may be more relaxing knowing that if he is booked the next game he misses is against bottom side Malaga.

Messi arrives at the game in good form and knows that another goal will be his 600th for club and country and this would be a great game for him to achieve that landmark.

Possible starting XI: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba: Dembele, Rakitic, Busquets, Coutinho; Messi, Suarez.

How do you think Barcelona should line up against Atletico? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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