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La Liga returns once again after two weeks of absence due to the international break and ultimate rounds of FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Ernesto Valverde will his face his first strong test of the league campaign when his side squares off against Simeone’s Atletico Madrid. The match is scheduled to take place at the new Wanda Metropolitano and Atletico officials had earlier revealed that only 61 away tickets will be allotted to travelling fans due to “logistical issues.” However, the tension between Spanish and Catalan factions is being suspected as the real reason here.
Barcelona are currently on a nine game winning streak and Atletico Madrid will try their best to hurt this rampart run. Barcelona need to field a strong XI to maintain their 100% win record.
Reports came out this week that Bayern want to sign him as a replacement for Neuer who is out due to a long-term injury. Ter Stegen has been phenomenal and has looked more and more impressive each game.
The Portuguese has been an excellent purchase and is a Dani Alves in the making. His pace down the flank and reading of the game is amazing.
Pique is not in the best runs of form at the moment but he is crucial to the backline. Barca fans will hope he comes to life in this match.
Umtiti has been a monster. His passing ability, composure on the ball and defensive positioning have been top notch. Had an impressive string of performances with France during the international break as well.
After an irregular couple of seasons, Alba has rediscovered his form. He is crucial to Barcelona’s attacking play from the left flank, even more so now in Neymar’s absence.
Busquets is the most fundamental link between Barca’s defence and attack and everything in between. Definitely needs to start in this one.
Rakitic has been going through a run of ups and downs and Roberto has been underutilised being played at RB. Should start this game in central midfield.
Iniesta is fit to start the match and must be used in the initial phases. Once a lead has been earned, he should be substituted off in place of Denis Suarez. The Spaniard recently committed to a lifetime contract renewal with Barcelona.
With Dembele out until next year, Deulofeu has a huge opportunity to impress and consolidate his place in the starting XI.
Leo Messi produced a glorious hattrick in one of the most important games of his career, against Ecuador and ensured Argentina’s ticket to the World Cup in Russia next year. With Messi on such a scoring spree, Simeone will have to come up with something special to neutralise him.
Let’s face it. The Uruguyan has looked absolutely terrible this season. He has missed one-on-ones and has failed to create even proper chances. He was, however, on the score-sheet for Uruguay and hopefully that will give him confidence to regain his form.