Picking the Best Potential Barcelona Lineup to Face Espanyol on Saturday

Barcelona will look to make it three wins from three as they host local rivals Espanyol at the Nou Camp on Saturday night. Having returned from an international break, the players will be raring to go and keen to assert their dominance on this La Liga campaign. 

With a strong start essential to regaining the La Liga title, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde will be keen to address this within his team selection. The omission of club record signing Ousmane Dembele is a statement from the manager as to how important fitness really is – no matter how much you cost. 

Goalkeeper

  • Ter Stegen

    Ter Stegen1

?Marc-Andre ter Stegen should take his place in goal.

Defence

  • Vidal

    Vidal22

  • Piqué

    Piqué3

  • Umtiti

    Umtiti23

  • Jordi Alba

    Jordi Alba18

There will be an unchanged back four from the side that beat Alaves 2-0, with no new injuries sustained to the defence from the international break. Barcelona will look to use the pace and attacking intent of the full backs as a means of hurting Espanyol. 

Consistently bombing forward Vial and Jordi Alba will look to create chances from the flanks with crosses and marauding runs. However, with Espanyol proving to be Barcelona’s toughest test yet, they will need to be careful about being caught out of position. The away side will look to catch Barcelona on the break, defending deep and attacking with precision. 

Midfield

  • Paulinho

    Paulinho15

  • Busquets

    Busquets5

  • S. Roberto

    S. Roberto20

With Ivan Rakitic doubtful with a muscle problem, ex-Spurs man Paulinho is set to make his full debut having arrived for £36m this summer. The Brazilian was impressive in China and for the national team, earning him his dream move to the Catalan giants. 

Furthermore, Andres Iniesta is set to be rested having featured twice for Spain during the international break. With a huge Champions League clash against Juventus approaching, Valverde will want his best players at peak fitness. 

This means that fellow countryman Sergi Roberto will stand in his place – despite speculation of a move away all summer long.

Forwards

  • Messi

    Messi10

  • Suárez

    Suárez9

  • Deulofeu

    Deulofeu16

Valverde will be delighted to name Luis Suarez back in the starting eleven after the Uruguayan was passed fit – having suffered from cramp against Argentina. The striker initially suffered a knee injury that saw him sidelined for five weeks, but he is now ready to put on the Barcelona shirt again. 

One player that the manager will not be pleased with is Dembele, who is not fit to start against Espanyol. Having refused to train for Dortmund, the club’s record signing has been training alone in order to regain fitness and his shape. Valverde is furious and will bench the Frenchman as a result of this. 

Lionel Messi was the difference in Barcelona’s last La Liga game, netting a brace against Deportivo Alaves. Fans will be expecting a similar contribution from the Argentine in this game, who has a track record of finding the net against Espanyol. 

Let’