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After managing only a draw against Olympiacos at the Karaiskakis Stadium in their UEFA Champions League group stage encounter, Valverde’s men return to host Sevilla at the Camp Nou. It must be pointed out that Barcelona still top their group in the Champions League and are unbeaten since their hammering at the hands of rivals Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana in August. Valverde will hope to extend that winning streak against a tough opposition in Sevilla and the squad has a number of injury struck players as well.
Dembele is still rehabilitating from his injury and posted an Instagram story which suggests he is back in training, with him expected to be back on the pitch by January. Andres Iniesta has not been given the medical green light yet but could eventually make it to the squad. Andre Gomes, Rafinha, Sergi Roberto and Arda Turan are on the injury list as well.
Ter Stegen is the best keeper in La Liga at the moment and may prove fundamental in thwarting Sevilla’s advances on goal.
Valverde has rotated the pair of Roberto and Semedo in this position and since Sergi is out injured, Semedo should start this one.
Pique missed the Champions League match due to suspension but is expected to be back for Liga action.
Umtiti has emerged as one of the best defenders in Europe and has been a sensational purchase for Barcelona. He will be a crucial figure in the match against Sevilla.
Alba is expected to fill in at left back ahead of Lucas Digne, who is pushingfor a first-team spot as well.
Given the injury concerns, Busquets seems like the only confirmed midfield starter.
Paulinho has won his way into the hearts of the cules with some solid performances and goals, and has been a good addition to the squad.
Rakitic had a poor outing against Athletic Bilbao and has been horrible this season. Yet, he is preferred by Valverde over the likes of Denis Suarez or B team’s Carles Alena.
Sevilla is Messi’s favourite victim and the Argentine has scored 29 times against them. He needs just one more to become the first European player to score 30 goals against a single team and could do just that at the Camp Nou this weekend.
Deulofeu didn’t do much to impress against Olympiacos but is expected to be given the nod ahead of Denis.
Suarez has been terribly off form this season but despite that, Valverde has constantly overlooked bench options to field the Uruguayan.