FC Barcelona-Deportivo La Corunya: First things first

Barça v Getafe / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
Barça face an important league game against Deportivo ahead of Tuesday’s decisive game against Milan

Víctor Valdés will miss the first game of his suspension – against the league’s bottom side

With the all-important game against Milan attracting most of the attention, Barça face a league game at the Camp Nou against Deportivo on Saturday evening, one which as coach Jordi Roura has insisted is an important match to ensure they maintain their big lead at the top of the table and perhaps just as importantly, to get back to winning ways ahead of Tuesday, after unusually losing three of their last four games.

Changes between the sticks

Víctor Valdés’ red card at the Bernabeu earned him a four game suspension which starts this Saturday and that means that José Manuel Pinto will get his chance in the league, with B team keeper Jordi Masip stepping up as his understudy. Marc Bartra will also be missing after picking up an injury in training, whilst Xavi is only just coming back after his hamstring injury and has yet to get the medical all clear to play.

Top against bottom

Barça have a near perfect record at the Camp Nou in the league this season, with 11 wins and just a single draw so far, a run which is in stark contrast to Deportivo’s awful run on the road – five draws and eight defeats away from the Riazor.

Vázquez looks to spring a surprise

Deportivo come into the game in a critical position – bottom of the table and eight points off safety with three enormous games coming up – against fellow strugglers Celta, Mallorca and Zaragoza. With Fernando Vázquez in charge, Deportivo will be looking to spring a surprise and turn things round, although they will have to do so without the injured Riki (their leading goalscorer), Ze Castro and Kaká, as well as the suspended Marchena.