Just three days after crashing out to Manchester United in the Europa League, Barcelona return to action with a La Liga trip to Almeria.
Xavi’s side had the advantage over United after Robert Lewandowski converted a first-half penalty at Old Trafford, but goals from Fred and Antony turned the tie around to send Barça out of the competition 4-3.
Things are looking rosier in La Liga, however, with an impressive eight-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the table richly rewarded for their excellent home form. Things could get even better against an Almeria side yet to register a win over Barca…
Almeria team news
Alejandro Pozo is the home side’s only injury concern but changes are likely to be made after last week’s embarrassing defeat to Girona.
El Bilal Toure, Largie Ramazani, Arnau Puigmal and Juan Brandariz are among the players who could come into the side as Almeria bid to maintain their decent home record – they’ve picked up 19 points from a possible 33 on their own turf.
Almeria predicted lineup vs Barcelona
Almeria predicted lineup (4-3-3): Martinez, Mendes, Chumi, Ely, Akieme; Robertone, De la Hoz, Samu; Ramazani, Suarez, Toure
Barcelona team news
Barcelona will again be without teenage prodigy Pedri because of injury, but Gavi should be immediately restored to Xavi’s starting lineup after his midweek suspension.
Ronald Araujo is expected to be fit despite picking up a knock in midweek, potentially retaining his place in central defence alongside Andreas Christensen. Marcos Alonso could come in for Alejandro Balde at full-back, yet there will be no place in the squad for the injured Ousmane Dembele.
Barcelona predicted lineup vs Almeria
Barcelona predicted lineup (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Alba; Busquets, De Jong, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi