Jean-Clair Todibo, who prefers to go by JC, is line to start for Barcelona against Eibar, ahead of Samuel Umtiti, Mundo Deportivo reports. Todibo and Umtiti are both back in training after physical problems had kept them out, but there are reasons to think it will be Todibo who will play alongside Clément Lenglet.
Barcelona are without Gerard Piqué due to yellow card accumulation and thus will need to rely on a slightly unfamiliar face in the starting XI. B team player Ronald Araújo, who came on as a substitute for Todibo against Sevilla, is also out due to suspension.
Umtiti was Barcelona’s starter two seasons ago but recurring knee problems have kept him from playing a strong run of games. Another injury this season has kept him from having any impact. While he has returned to training, chances are that he will still be a little cold heading into the game.
Todibo had to come off in the last match vs. Sevilla due to exhaustion and cramps. That problem is less serious, and he should be ready to go against Eibar. The youngster had a good performance as a starter, and it’s understood Ernesto Valverde will want to continue giving him chances.
Another reason Umtiti may not start is that he is left-footed, which Lenglet is as well. Todibo is right-footed, and generally, Valverde prefers having two defenders with opposite preferred feet.
Something else MD points out is that Todibo is the fastest among Lenglet, Umtiti, and him, and Valverde may want to prioritize having a faster player alongside Lenglet.
The argument for Umtiti is that he is more experienced, and that he has shown a level much higher than Todibo when “Big Sam” was at his peak a few years ago.