Football Club Barcelona have had a very strange season so far. Going through the emotions of yet another comfortable La Liga triumph to losing just a single Champions League game whole season which ultimately left the whole season in a turmoil. Yes, we are talking about the humiliation at Anfield.
The wounds of two consecutive premature European exits won’t heal anytime soon, especially given the manner in which those defeats came but it’s important to finish the season on a high and go into the summer with a positive feeling around the club. This makes Saturday’s final against Valencia in the Copa del Rey even more significant from Barcelona’s point of view.
Barcelona team news
The hurt isn’t just emotional, it’s physical as well with Barcelona suffering from a plethora of injuries. Marc Andre Ter-Stegen who plays second fiddle to Jasper Cillessen in cup competitions is unavailable due to a knee problem.
Luis Suarez won’t have any role to play after undergoing knee surgery right after the game at Anfield. Ousmane Dembele remains a big doubt following his injury while Philippe Coutinho looks certain to start after having overcome a hamstring injury suffered on May 12.
Nelson Semedo and Arthur Melo are back in the squad and are looking good, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde confirmed. We expect them to feature from the bench and not make the starting XI though.
Predicted Barcelona lineup vs Valencia (4-3-3)
Cillessen will start in goal in what is said to be his last game in Blaugrana colours after the Dutchman revealed his plans for the summer. The backline of Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba in a final shouldn’t be a surprise seeing the stature of the game.
A three-man midfield of Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal should start the game seeing Arthur has just come back from injury. Busquets and Rakitic will form a double pivot with Vidal given a free role, playing as a box to box midfielder.
In the absence of Suarez upfront, Lionel Messi will surely lead the front line with Coutinho and Malcom Oliveira on either side. Malcom will start from the right and Coutinho on the left seeing they both like to cut in towards the interior of the pitch and have a pop at goal.
Messi might play as a false-9 with Valverde trying to overcrowd the midfield and Alba, Malcolm and Coutinho can make runs behind the Valencia defence.