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How will Barcelona line up against Espanyol?

There’s a Catalan derby in La Liga on Saturday

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

Barcelona make the short trip to Espanyol on Saturday as they return to La Liga action after their midweek Copa del Rey win.

Ernesto Valverde rested most of his key players against Cultural Leonesa, and he should also be boosted by the returns of Arthur and Luis Suarez from injury.

Let’s have a look at how the champions could line-up for tomorrow’s game.


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

There are still a few injury problems in defence with Sergi Roberto not expected to return just yet and Samuel Umtiti having treatment in Qatar for knee trouble.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba were all given the night off on Wednesday but will return to the starting XI, with Nelson Semedo and Clement Lenglet completing the backline.


Cultural Leonesa v FC Barcelona - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Arthur could return for this one and make his first appearance since the draw over Atletico Madrid. Arturo Vidal should be fit after missing out in the Copa del Rey due to a fever.

And then there’s Ivan Rakitic who started once again against Cultural, although he only played 45 minutes, with Sergio Busquets taking over at half-time.

The Croatian has looked in real need of a rest in recent weeks, but he grabbed three assists in midweek and is in line to make his 18th Barcelona start of the season.

Denis Suarez and Carles Alena will also be pushing for some game time after impressing in recent appearances.


FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona may have Suarez back from injury, although there are reports flying about that the club remain concerned about his knee problems.

The in-form Ousmane Dembele will also be hoping for another start, he has two assists and a goal in his last three Barcelona outings.

Valverde may have to decide between the Frenchman or Philippe Coutinho in attack alongside Suarez and Lionel Messi.

Coutinho hasn’t scored since the 5-1 Clasico win over Real Madrid, his last La Liga assist was back in September against Huesca.

Possible starting XI: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba: Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Dembele, Messi, Suarez.

How do you think Barcelona should line up against Espanyol? Let us know your thoughts, line-ups and predictions in the comments below!

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