Back-to-back La Liga champions from the last two seasons Barcelona start their La Liga defence with a home tie against Real Betis on Saturday. Betis had a decent last season finishing tenth on the table and Gus Poyet, in his first full-season in charge of the club, will be looking to finish higher on the table this campaign. Barcelona had been busy during the preseason participating in the 2016 International Champions Cup where the team won against Premier League champions Leicester City and Scottish champions Celtic but were humbled by a 4-0 loss to Liverpool.
Barcelona came back from the 4-0 loss to Liverpool in a stunning fashion as they thrashed Sevilla 5-0 in aggregate in the two-legged Spanish Supercopa to win the first silverware of the season. Two of Barcelona’s key players Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez look as sharp as ever heading into their first La Liga game of the season. Neymar is still with the Brazil team competing in the ongoing Rio Olympics as Munir El Haddadi and Arda Turan take turns filling in for his spot in Coach Enrique’s front three.
Here is the predicted Barcelona lineup against Real Betis.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is out with a knee injury which means Claudio Bravo will start under the bar. Sergi Roberto is likely to start the game in the right-back position ahead of Aleix Vidal. The two central defenders are likely to be Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano. New signing from Paris Saint-Germain Lucas Digne has done well in pre-season but is likely to make the bench only as Jordi Alba looks set to start in the left-back position.
Sergio Busquets is a key player in Barcelona’s system and the Spaniard will start in his preferred defensive role. With skipper Andres Iniesta out injured, summer signing from Villareal Denis Suarez is likely to start in his place. Ivan Rakitic will partner the young Spaniard in midfield.
Neymar will be a big miss to Barcelona as the Brazilian is serving his nation in Rio Olympics. Munir El Haddadi is likely to start on the left flank and has a big void to fill. Lionel Messi is the obvious starter on the right flank while the same goes for Luis Suarez in the number nine role.