Venue: Estadi Cornellà-El Prat
Kick-off: 3:00 PM GMT / 10:00 AM EST
Television coverage: beIN Sports en Español, beIN Sports USA
The Strongest Possible Lineup for Barcelona against Espanyol
Formation – 4-3-3
Claudio Bravo had very little to do during the clash against Real Betis and the Chilean would most certainly have been pleased to have claimed a clean sheet on the day.
Bravo can now be expected to be a lot busier for the clash against Espanyol though and a very good performance will be required once again from the Barcelona custodian.
Thomas Vermaelen was given a chance to start alongside Javier Mascherano at the heart of the defence for Barcelona against Real Betis but despite the Belgian’s good performance, it is expected that he will be making way for Gerard Pique on Saturday.
In the full back positions, Dani Alves is a certain starter but much like Vermalen, even Jeremy Mathieu looks set to drop down to the bench in favour of regular left back Jordi Alba.
Andres Iniesta was an unused substitute during the clash against Real Betis while Sergio Busquets was used only till the hour mark. With the two midfield stars well rested, one can be sure that the duo will be starting for the clash against Espanyol.
Ivan Rakitic played the full ninety minutes last time out but despite his exertions, the Croatian star is likely to be retained in the starting lineup ahead of Sergi Roberto.
As expected, the trio of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi wreaked havoc into the Real Betis backline and it would take a brave man to bet against the trio doing the same on Saturday in the Catalan Derby.
However, an away clash against Espanyol is certainly a tough test and the superstars will have to play to their best in order to be able to cause similar damage.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bravo; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar