21.00, C+ – FC Barcelona, with Messi fit, travel to in-form Betis, who are fourth

Tito Vilanova’s job has been made a lot easier thanks to Messi’s injury only being a minor scare and the returns of Bartra, Alves and Alexis

Betis are fourth in La Liga and have already beaten the likes of Real Madrid

Sunday brings one of the trickiest away trips of the season for Barcelona. Betis are fourth in the table after beating such sides as Real Madrid and Valencia. Barça have dropped several points in recent editions of this fixture, and will be delighted to learn that Leo Messi, who was stretchered off the pitch against Benfica midweek, has not suffered a serious injury and will once again be able to continue his bid to topple Müller’s historic goalscoring record.

19 in squad

In addition to the Argentinian, Alves and Alexis have also been declared fully fit and named in the squad of 19 that will travel to Andalusia. Bartra is also back to full fitness, but hasn’t been selected, while Montoya and Dos Santos also stay at home. Tito Vilanova will have to drop one more name from his definitive squad against Betis.

Betis in form

Barça’s opponents have also received some good news this week. All three of their main centre backs, Paulao, Perquis and former FCB man Mario, are all set to return from injury. The Andalusians will be looking to continue their good run. Since the major setback of 5-1 defeat in the local derby with Sevilla, they have responded with wins against Real Madrid (1-0) and Deportivo (2-3) to climb to fourth place. There’s no doubt that one of the biggest tests of the season awaits FC Barcelona at the Benito Villamarín.