Deportivo look to derail Barça at Riazor
Barcelona, who can no longer afford any more slip ups in LaLiga, face a Deportivo side with nothing to play for tonight (2000 CET). Piqué is unavailable following his booking on Sunday.
Having thrown a 12-point cushion away, Barcelona take to Riazor tonight and have absolutely no room for error. Luis Enrique’s men have everything to play for while Deportivo, nine points above the drop zone, are now basically home and dry. Last season the Galicians secured safety in the division with a shock result at the Camp Nou. The Catalans took a 2-0 lead but then allowed their relegation-battle embroiled guests to come back into the game and leave with a point worth its weight in gold.
It is unlikely Depor will return the favour tonight, first off because their manager, Víctor Sánchez, cut his teeth at Real Madrid. Earlier this season Deportivo recorded yet another 2-2 draw away to los culés, when Barça seemed more focused on their imminent trip to Japan to play the Club World Cup than on their domestic commitments.
No surprises. In his press conference yesterday Luis Enrique stated that he will not be making any drastic changes to his starting line-up. The one-time Celta boss has very few options to choose from but will have to bring someone in to partner Mascherano at centre back, as Piqué serves a one-match ban. The other possible changes to the starting line-up could see Sergi Roberto take Rakitic’s place and Alves make his way back into the team after being dropped against Valencia as punishment for his bizarre Instagram video.
The home side meanwhile are experiencing all kinds of problems in defence. With Lopo and Arribas both suspended, Sidnei is the only centre half available to Sánchez tonight. Navarro will likely be pushed into the heart of the backline with Laure doing a job at left back. The Coruña outfit are also limited between the sticks. Fabricio, who was the hero during last season’s purge at the Camp Nou, picked up an injury preseason. His replacement, Lux, joined him on the treatment table a few weeks back so Manu has been elected to keep the MSN at bay on this occasion.
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