Barcelona will aim to stay within touching distance of Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga table when they welcome Almeria to Camp Nou on Saturday evening.
This is the Catalan club’s penultimate game before the World Cup hiatus, and the last in front of the home crowd. Following the 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich in their second-last Champions League group-stage fixture, Xavi Hernandez’s side bounced back with back-to-back wins over Valencia and Viktoria Plzen, respectively.
The Blaugrana trail bitter rivals Real Madrid by just one point and will go to the summit of La Liga for a couple of days with a win or a draw against Almeria.
Barcelona Team News
Gerard Pique has announced his retirement from football, stating that Saturday’s league clash with Almeria will be his last at Barcelona’s Camp Nou.
Franck Kessie was taken off in midweek with a hamstring injury against Viktoria Plzen, and the midfielder has been ruled out for the upcoming clash with Almeria, joining Sergi Roberto, Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde and Memphis Depay on the sidelines. But in a double injury boost, both Eric Garcia and Andreas Christensen have been declared fit for the game and included in the squad.
Predicted Barcelona Lineup vs Almeria (4-3-3)
Marc Andre ter-Stegen was given a night off against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Tuesday, with Inaki Pena starting in goal. The German is expected to return in goal for the Almeria test at the weekend.
Gerard Pique is expected to start and captain the Barcelona side for the final time. The legendary defender will hope to sign off on a high note by leading his team to all three points against Almeria.
Eric Garcia could join Pique in central defence in the Barcelona lineup, with Alejandro Balde and Hector Bellerin operating at left-back and right-back, respectively. The entire Barcelona’s backline unit must stay focused throughout the 90 minutes to secure a clean sheet against Almeria.
Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri were all left out of the game against Viktoria Plzen in midweek, and it is quite easy to guess that they will be the starting midfield trio in the upcoming La Liga fixture.
Busquets will act as the defensive midfielder in the Barcelona lineup, providing license for De Jong and Pedri to make late runs in the box and help the offensive players in the final third.
Young guns such as Gavi and Pablo Torre may get opportunities off the bench in the second half.
Robert Lewandowski was rested in midweek, so the Pole will be fresh and raring to make his mark against Almeria. He will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing one of the worst defences in La Liga this weekend.
Xavi will expect both Ousmane Dembele and Ferran Torres to exhibit their scoring traits whilst providing service for Lewandowski in the box from wide areas in the Barcelona lineup.