Last weekend began with an Manchester Derby for football fans to enjoy as they either just woke up (if you live in the US) or had lunch (if you live in Europe) or wanted to spend a nice afternoon watching football (if you live in India).
This weekend it’s Barcelona who treat us to an early kickoff as they travel to the outskirts of Madrid to face Leganés on Saturday. After an embarrassing league loss to newly promoted Alavés a week ago, the Catalans hope to build on their fantastic win against Celtic in the Champions League group stage opener and carry that momentum into a crucial La Liga game. The Blaugrana are three points behind Real Madrid already, and need a victory to avoid being too far away from the Blancos.
Luis Enrique has no fresh injury concerns following the Celtic game, and has a fully healthy squad ready to go on Saturday. Atlético Madrid at Camp Nou awaits next Wednesday, which means that Lucho might rotate the team on the weekend to have the Gala XI ready for midweek. The rotation didn’t work against Alavés, but Enrique might ride his luck again and put some starters on the bench.
This is the potential starting lineup for Saturday’s match:
Marc-André ter Stegen
Sergi Roberto – Gerard Piqué – Javier Mascherano – Jordi Alba
Ivan Rakitic – Sergio Busquets – Andrés Iniesta
Lionel Messi – Luis Suárez – Neymar Jr.
The depth of this squad makes it nearly impossible to predict the lineup, especially in midfield. Apart from Busquets, everybody else (Rakitic, Iniesta, Rafinha, Gomes, Denis) has a chance to start and any of them would be a great choice. Lucho has been careful with Iniesta since his return from injury, but the captain might be ready to start again.
The only probable change from the Celtic match is the return of Javier Mascherano in place of Samuel Umtiti. Piqué has no real replacement, and Enrique will likely rotate Mascherano and Umtiti throughout the season, and given that Sammy played on Tuesday, Masche will start this one.