Athletic are coming off a defeat in the Spanish Super Cup finals against Madrid and will be fired up to prove their worth tomorrow night. Sitting in 9th in La Liga, Marcelino’s men have struggled with finishing problems throughout the season, missing 30 out of the 42 big chances they have created.
Unfortunately, the Blaugranas face some similar issues. The attack has struggled to cope without Ansu Fati, who is by an overwhelming majority the best finisher at the club. He is, thankfully back to fitness and is expected to start. But who will make up the rest of the team?
As mentioned, Fati will start his first game in two months ahead of the injured Memphis Depay. The Spaniard will play as the striker, filling in for Luuk de Jong who has three goals in three games but is still suspended for the King’s Cup.
SergioBusquets has been the talk of social media in the last week, receiving heavy backlash after his mistake leading to Madrid’s opener. Xavi had a clear stance on the issue, though: “He is a spectacular and unquestionable footballer, he is very important for our game, if the team is together, Busquets is one of the best in the world.”
Barcelona have been far from careful defensively this season but have had two standout performers in the heart of the backline in Ronald Araujo and GerardPique. With Eric Garcia and Samuel Umtiti injured, the duo will retain their place as starters.
After a solid two opening games following his return to Barca, DaniAlves faced some expected turbulence against Vinicius Jr in the ElClasico. He’ll take on one of Spain’s finest in Iker Muniain on that flank and any misstep will cost the team leaps and bounds.
On the left, JordiAlba will hope to replicate his showing against Madrid. Not only did he get an assist, but it was also one of his best defensive displays in months.
The lineup is rounded off by NetoMurara. He starts over Marc-Andre ter Stegen, as is tradition in the domestic cup for Barca. He cannot be as careless as he was against Linares, though.