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How should Barcelona line up against Valencia?

There’s no Gerard Pique for Sunday’s clash

Barcelona Training Session and Press Conference Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona head to Valencia on Sunday for perhaps the most eagerly anticipated La Liga game of the season so far.

Marcelino’s men have been brilliant in this campaign and go into the match in second place just four points behind Barca at the top of the table.

Neither team has yet to taste defeat in the league this season but that could change at Mestalla. Here’s a look at how Barca might line up for the big game...


The big question ahead of the game is who will replace Gerard Pique who is suspended?

With Javier Mascherano injured, the most obvious choice is Thomas Vermaelen and if he doesn’t feature, well there’s very little point in him being at the club anymore.

So Vermaelen to partner Samuel Umtiti at centre-back with Jordi Alba back on the left, Nelson Semedo at right-back and Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal.

Barcelona have been brilliant defensively this season but will need to be at their best against Valencia who have been pretty ruthless in front of goal


As usual this is where it gets tricky. Just how pragmatic will Ernesto Valverde be against Valencia who have scored 32 goals in 12 La Liga games so far this season?

Paulinho, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic all started against Juventus but you get the feeling Valverde will make changes.

Rakitic has come under scrutiny this season and he hardly shone against Juventus, but then neither did Paulinho.

It’s difficult to second guess Valverde at the moment but Brazilian is the more like option to drop to the bench with Iniesta, Busquets and Rakitic starting and more changes further forward.

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


Lionel Messi was, of course, rested in midweek so should be fresh and back in the starting line-up. He also hasn’t scored since the win over Athletic Bilbao and is overdue a goal.

There’s a chance we could also see Paco Alcacer back as he has been impressive in recent weeks and Barca have looked brighter in attack with him in the team.

Alcacer should relish taking on his former side and Luis Suarez also looks happier with the striker in the team.

Suarez has also looked sharper since the international break and scored twice against Leganes last time out in La Liga to end his recent goal drought.

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

Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Vermaelen, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Alcacer, Messi, Suarez.

Who do you think should start against Valencia? Let us know your thoughts and line-ups in the comments below!

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