La Liga giants Barcelona are due to make a trip to Estadio Jose Alvalade tomorrow in order to face Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon in their second game of the group stage of UEFA Champions League. Under the tutelage of Ernesto Valverde, Barca have carved a stupendous start to their season, having bagged 18 points from their first 6 league games and are currently placed at the top of the Spanish top division table.
In the Champions League also, Barcelona have had a superb start as they clinched a 3-0 win over Juventus in their first game. Ousmane Dembele and Rafinha are ruled out of the game and despite the fact that Arda Turan is back in training, he isn’t likely to be rushed in. Here is how we expect Barcelona to line up against Sporting Lisbon this midweek.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen should be handed the role of the custodian against the Lions, for he has been quite brilliant with the gloves so far this season and Valverde is seemingly likely to stick with him. Ahead of ter Stegen, we expect a four-man defensive wall.
Jordi Alba is expected to be stationed at the left-back position after a superb start to the new campaign, with Nelson Semedo likely to be engineered at the right-back slot. Semedo was rested last weekend and thus, he is due to make a return for the crucial fixture.
The two central defensive slots should be handed to Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti. While Pique would be the one marshalling the backline, Umtiti has arguably been the best defender for the Spanish giants this season and the pair would offer strong resilience to the home side.
Sergio Busquets should find himself in a slightly deeper position the middle of the park, with Andres Iniesta and Paulinho being used a yard or two ahead of Busquets. Paulinho has dazzled ever since he moved to Camp Nou during the summer transfer window whereas Iniesta has been heavily involved in the attacking endeavours of his side.
Lionel Messi has already smashed 12 goals this season across all competitions and would be the first man to find his place in the tactical setup of Valverde. The Argentine magician would be itching to keep his fine run going and would be eager to find the back of the net to turn the tables in favour of his employers.
To aid Messi in attack, we expect Gerard Deulofeu to be slotted at the right wing and Luis Suarez on the left wing. Deulofeu and Suarez are yet to hit the ground up and running this term and the midweek fixture would be an excellent pedestal for them to make themselves count.
Here is how they might line up:
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